Frequently Asked Questions:

Cutaneous Lymphoma

How can lymphoma arise in the skin?

You may be surprised to know the skin is the largest lymphoid organ in the body as it provides the first line of defense against the environment. Lymphocytes that live in the skin can become malignant and result in cutaneous lymphoma. For the most part they remain confined to the skin and do not affect internal organs. In about 10% of the cases the disease can be more aggressive affecting blood and internal organs.

Who treats Cutaneous T- cell lymphomas?

Optimal treatment for Cutaneous Lymphomas requires close collaboration between dermatologists and hematologist/oncologists. Since these are rare disease and most oncologists may rarely see a case in their lifetime, it is best to seek and expert in the field who has experience in treating CTCL. Early stage lesions can be managed by a dermatologist who can provide topical ointments, lotions and light therapy, biologic therapies and chemotherapy are best provided under the care of an oncologist who is well acquainted with the management of these diseases.

What causes skin lymphomas?

Unlike other forms of skin cancer, cutaneous lymphomas are not linked to excessive sunlight or UV exposure. We do not understand what causes skin lymphomas. We do know it is not contagious or hereditary.

What is photopheresis?

Photopheresis, or ECP, is a form of light therapy used in the treatment of skin lymphomas and other diseases. It is a procedure where white blood cells are filtered and exposed to UV light and then returned to the circulation at the same time. This provides the benefit of light therapy without exposing the skin. It is very safe and is done in the outpatient setting.