What is lymphoma?
Cutaneous Lymphoma is a rare cancer of the white blood cells of the body and presents on the skin at diagnosis. Cutaneous lymphoma can most commonly involve two different groups of white blood cells called lymphocytes: B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells). B cells are responsible for protecting the body against bacteria and viruses. T cells have multiple jobs including destroying abnormal cells and boosting other cells in the body.
T Cell Lymphoma: stages and symptoms
Stage I: Thick lesions or bumps on the skin appear. Lymph nodes are not swollen at this time.
Stage II: Scaly patches, bumps, and thick lesions cover nearly the entire body. Lymph nodes begin to swell. Possible tumor or lesion present above the skin.
Stage III: Scaly patches, dry skin, and bumps cover nearly the entire body. Lymph nodes are enlarged.
Stage IV: Scaly patches, dry skin, and any number of tumors may be present on the skin. Lymph nodes are enlarged and contain cancer cells. Cancer may spread to other organs in the body.
B Cell Lymphoma: stages and symptoms
Stage I: The cancer is present in one lymph node and may be swollen and tender.
Stage II: The cancer is present on two or more lymph nodes, however only on one side of the diaphragm.
Stage III: The cancer is present in both lymph nodes on both sides of the diaphragm.
Stage IV: The cancer has spread to other organs in the body.
Common Symptoms: Enlarged lymph nodes, chills, sudden weight loss, swollen abdomen, and easy bruising or bleeding.
Treatment options vary depending on which stage the cancer was detected in and whether your T cells or B cells are affected. Treatment options may include:
- Immune therapy medications
- Radiation therapy
- Phototherapy (UV light therapy)
- Surgical treatments
- Topical medications
Most lymphomas have no known cause, so there is no clear path for prevention. Early detection and diagnosis is very important to the success of your treatment plan. Regardless of your medical history, scheduling yearly skin examinations by a board certified dermatologist is a great way to ensure early detection.