Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in lymphocyte cells that comprise an element in the body’s immune system. Lymphocytes are found within lymph nodes and lymphoid tissue like the bone marrow, spleen, and skin. There are two forms of lymphomas: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Whenever a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma initially forms solely on the skin, it is classed as a skin lymphoma. There are other types of lymphomas that begin elsewhere and eventually spread to the skin, but these are not considered skin lymphoma because the skin is not the initial point of origin.
Most cells found in lymphoid tissue are known as lymphocytes. These forms of white blood cells have two general types: B cells and T cells.
B cells typically guard the body against attacks by germs by forming proteins known as antibodies. The germs are attacked by the antibodies, which enlist the aid of other immune cells.
T cells have several forms, each with its own function. Some guard against pathogens like bacterium, fungi, and viruses. Others help regulate the activity of other types of immune system cells.
Each of the two types of lymphocytes can become lymphoma cells. However, when diagnosing cutaneous lymphoma of the skin, T-cell lymphomas are much more prevalent than B-cell lymphomas.The two different types of lymphoma cells can be identified through the conduct of lab tests designed to detect certain types of proteins on their surfaces which are unique to each individual lymphocyte.
Skin Lymphoma Treatment
In order to determine the treatment, the type of lymphoma must be determined, as well as its stage and location. Our Board Certified professional at Johns Creek Dermatology who specializes in dermapathology, Dr. Timani, is able to make this type of determination. Treatment options can also be affected by the overall health of the patient.
T-cell lymphomas often involve skin-directed treatments when the cancer is in the early stages. This may include ultraviolet light therapy, topical chemotherapy, and corticosteroid injections or ointments.
In situations which may call for whole-body treatments when the disease has spread to other areas of the body, the physicians at Johns Creek Dermatology will work with you to find a cancer specialist to administer therapies which may include oral retinoids, targeted drugs, interferon, photopheresis, and low-dose methotrexate. Chemotherapy may be an option but is usually only used in cases of lymphoma that are not responsive to other types of treatment. In these cases, only a single drug is usually given. In some cases, however, drug combinations are recommended.
Johns Creek Dermatology has established a reputation for providing professional patient diagnosis and care for skin cancer patients. If you suspect you may be at risk of developing skin cancer, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment today.