Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Clinic
For some people, skin irritations, including rashes and dry, scaly skin, are a part of daily life. If standard treatments are not successful or stop working over time, it may be the sign of a more serious condition called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Allegheny Health Network (AHN) offers one of few Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma programs in western Pennsylvania. From diagnosis to treatment, you can count on us for care that meets your needs.
What is cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma?
This rare form of cancer affects the outer layers of the skin. However, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma does not come from too much time in the sun. The condition occurs when white blood cells (lymphocytes) start growing out of control.
Early symptoms of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma include rashes or patches of red, scaly skin. These symptoms are like other conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, and progress slowly over time. Common forms of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma include mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome.
Cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma care at AHN: Why choose us?
Our team includes a dermatologist with extra training in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma care. We’re able to personalize your care with gentle treatments such as phototherapy. And you have access to newly approved medications, too. This level of care helps you receive effective treatments while lowering your risk for unpleasant side effects. Meet our cutaneous T-cell lymphoma specialist, Charles E. Mount, MD.
We successfully treat many people with early-stage cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. For complex cancers that do not respond to standard treatments, we work alongside physicians from the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute to plan the next steps of your care.
Diagnosing cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma
It takes an experienced team to diagnose cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and that’s what you’ll find at AHN. Our dermatologist works alongside a doctor who specializes in diagnosing skin problems (dermatopathologist). Together, they use their expertise to detect signs of the disease that can be easy to miss.
Examining a sample of your skin tissue (biopsy) under a microscope may reveal eczema with other abnormal cells. These abnormal cells may be the first sign of T-cell lymphoma. We monitor these cells with additional biopsies every few months to make an accurate diagnosis.
We also determine the type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma you have, such as mycosis fungoides or Sézary syndrome. There are many treatments available for T-cell lymphoma. Having a precise diagnosis allows us to recommend the options that are best for you and your circumstances.
Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma treatments
Our years of experience help us tailor treatments to meet your unique needs. Your personalized care plan may include:
Skin-directed therapies are treatments we apply to the surface of your skin, such as:
- Steroids: These medications block chemical reactions within your body that cause abnormal swelling. Steroids are often creams you rub into your skin.
- Chemotherapy: We prescribe other creams with cancer-fighting drugs to stop cancer cells from growing.
- Phototherapy: Our physicians use special lights to quiet the swelling that’s causing the rash. Read more about phototherapy treatment for skin disease.
If the cancer does not respond to skin-directed therapies, we may recommend systemic treatments. These treatments circulate through the body and include:
- Chemotherapy we deliver by placing a needle in your arm
- Radiation therapy, which uses powerful X-ray beams to destroy the cancer
Our team stays in regular contact with you to make sure treatments are working. Monitoring also helps us detect any changes in your symptoms. Then, we can adjust treatments if necessary.
- When you first start treatment, we may see you as often as once a month.
- As you begin feeling better, you may only need follow-up visits a few times a year.