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UCM Cutaneous Lymphoma Center Frequently Asked Questions

What is cutaneous lymphoma?
What types of cutaneous lymphoma does the UCMCLC treat?
Do all dermatologists treat cutaneous lymphoma?
Why is cutaneous lymphoma difficult to diagnose?
How is cutaneous lymphoma diagnosed?
What treatment options does the UCMCLC offer for cutaneous lymphoma?
What information do I need to provide prior to my initial consultation?
What happens during my initial consultation?
Why do I have appointments with different specialists in one day?
How can I prepare for my initial consultation?
What are my responsibilities as a patient?
How can I participate in clinical trials at the UCM Cutaneous Lymphoma Center?

What is cutaneous lymphoma?

Cutaneous lymphoma is a sub-group of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas that starts in white blood cells and affects the skin. Although symptoms depend on how far the cancer has spread and vary from patient to patient, common symptoms include scaly patches, plaques or bumps on the skin.

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What types of cutaneous lymphoma does the UCMCLC treat?

The majority of patients we see have mycosis fungoides--the most common type of cutaneous lymphoma--or its leukemic variant, Sezary syndrome. However, our center evaluates and manages care for other cutaneous T- and B-cell lymphomas, including:

  • Lymphomatoid papulosis
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma
  • Gamma-delta lymphoma
  • CD8+ aggressive epidermotropic T-cell lymphoma
  • NK/T-cell lymphoma

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Do all dermatologists treat cutaneous lymphoma?

Cutaneous lymphoma is a rare, complex disease and is best treated by a team of physicians. The multidisciplinary care team at our center, which includes dermatologists, oncologists and pathologists, specializes in cutaneous lymphoma and offers all the care you will need to manage your disease in one place.

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Why is cutaneous lymphoma difficult to diagnose?

Cutaneous lymphoma can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble other skin disorders; such as eczema, chronic dermatitis or psoriasis. Symptoms vary from patient to patient and sub-types of the disease often determine the course of treatment. Although it takes time, a proper diagnosis is key to informing a patient’s treatment path.

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How is cutaneous lymphoma diagnosed?

Diagnosis typically involves a review of the patient’s medical history, physical examinations, blood tests and skin biopsies. At your initial consultation, you will meet with various specialists, such as a dermatologist, oncologist and/or pathologist, who work together to determine the next steps in your treatment. If a skin biopsy is necessary, your physicians will walk you through what to expect and how to prepare.

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What treatment options does the UCMCLC offer for cutaneous lymphoma?

We offer standard treatments as well as research-driven therapies. Treatment depends on several factors, including the patient’s age, lifestyle or other health conditions. We also consider your prior treatments and how you responded to them. Each patient’s treatment plan is developed by our cutaneous lymphoma team and is personalized to the patient’s needs.

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What information do I need to provide prior to my initial consultation?

Before your appointment at UCMCLC, our team will fully review your past medical information to determine which specialists you will need to meet with during your first visit. Typically you will meet with more than one specialist and could have multiple appointments on the first day.

In an effort to efficiently coordinate your appointments, we will need the following information prior to your visit:

  • Previous medical notes from your current physician(s)
    • Dermatologist
    • Oncologist
    • Radiation oncologist
  • Previous biopsy reports as well as glass slides
    • A review of the biopsy needs to be done by a dermatopathologist and hematopathologist at the University of Chicago Medicine
  • Previous blood work
  • Previous imaging studies such as CT or PET scans

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What happens during my initial consultation?

At your initial consultation, you will meet with physicians of different medical disciplines for several assessments. After a day of evaluation, your physicians will meet to collaboratively determine further care. Please allow 4-6 hours for your initial appointments.

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Why do I have appointments with different specialists in one day?

Each specialist at our center is an expert in a certain area of medicine. By working together, our patients benefit from all of our expertise. Although it’s not easy to have multiple appointments in one day, it allows our physicians to efficiently develop the best treatment plan for you. Also, many of our patients are not local. Meeting with multiple specialists saves patients from needing to make several visits.

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How can I prepare for my initial consultation?

We understand that your first visit can feel intimidating. The best way to prepare for your consultation is to be informed. As you review our content, please bring a list of any questions you have to your first visit. Our physicians are happy to discuss your questions or concerns at any point in your care.

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What are my responsibilities as a patient?

You play an important role on your care team. To make sure you receive the best care:

  • Know which medications you take and bring a list with you to appointments
  • Become familiar with your medical history and your family’s medical history
  • Be honest about any concerns you have. We know this can be a tough journey and want to support you. Let us know how we can help

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How can I participate in clinical trials at the UCM Cutaneous Lymphoma Center?

If you are interested in participating in clinical trials, talk to your physician about what trials are available and if you would be a good fit. Learn more about our current clinical trials.

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Related Links

Online Library

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma