What is Cutaneous Lymphoma?

November 12, 2012

What is Cutaneous Lymphoma?

Cutaneous lymphoma is a very rare condition that affects adults – mostly men – from 40 to 60 years old and occurs when skin cells grow in an uncontrollable manner.

The Most Common Kinds

Mycosis

Fungoides

Mycosis fungoides is a slow-growing condition, which can only be found on the skin. Usually, it is possible to control its treatments for years and, earlier on, it won’t even shorten a person’s life span. Even though mycosis fungoides has different stages, it doesn’t necessarily progress from one stage to the next. However, some people experience it spreading to other body parts.

Sezary Syndrome

This would be an advanced kind of cutaneous lymphoma and it affects larger skin areas with scaling and redness. The skin might get itchy and look thicker in some parts, while the lymph nodes get swollen and the blood gets abnormal lymphocytes in it.

The Causes

Cutaneous lymphoma causes are currently unknown. However, it is known that it cannot be passed onto others and that it isn’t infectious in any way.

The Symptoms

Cutaneous lymphoma symptoms usually depend on which stage the person is in during the diagnosis. Earlier on, it may look like regular skin conditions, like psoriasis or eczema, wherein the person gets rash-like red skin patches that are scaly or raised. Itchiness is another common symptom of this condition. Sometimes, there might be lumps on the skin, as well, and some people get swollen lymph nodes, too. In more advanced stages, more skin areas are affected, though, so it is much more evident when areas suddenly become itchy, scaly, red and even painful. They are usually thicker and more swollen than other parts, as well, so they will definitely be more different than other skin conditions later on.

The Diagnosis

To diagnose cutaneous lymphoma, small pieces of the affected skin parts are taken off and examined for abnormal cells under a microscope. If needed, you can ask for a local anesthetic beforehand. After that, the doctor will do a complete lymph node and skin exam and take blood samples to find out if your blood has any abnormal lymphocytes in it. If you want, you can get CT scans or MRI scans done to ensure that it hasn’t spread anywhere else. And, if you have swollen lymph nodes, you can look into getting them removed or getting a biopsy to examine your lymphoma cells under a microscope. In the end, the choice is ultimately yours.

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