CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma cannot be cured but with the available methods of treatments for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, it is possible for the patient to suppress the symptoms and lead a normal life.
Treatment for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
The best treatment option for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma can vary from one person to person depending upon the stage and extent of lymphoma. Usually a combination of treatments is required. Various specialists like dermatologist, hematologist, pathologist, radiologist, oncologist etc… work together to determine the most suitable treatment for an individual considering the goals and preferences of patient.
Following are the treatment options for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma:
- Ointments and skin creams can be used in treating CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. The treatment may involve use of gels, foams and creams containing corticosteroids which are helpful in treating itching and rashes. Chemotherapy and retinoids together works efficiently against cancer cells.
- UV light therapy can be used to treat CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. In this method the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light to kill the cancer cells as they are more sensitive to light as compared to other cells. In some cases medicines may be used to make them more sensitive.
- Electron beam radiation therapy can be used as a treatment for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. In this method, electron beam radiation is used in specific areas to kill the cancer cells without causing any harm to the internal organs.
- Medicines can be used for treating CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. This method involves use of medications that can cause the immune system to kill cancer cells. Medicines related to chemotherapy aims at destroying cells that grow quickly including cancer cells. Other medications like target therapy kills cancer cells on the basis of their vulnerabilities.
- Exposing blood cells to light can also aid in treating CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. This method involves first taking out the blood from the body through extracorporeal photopheresis and then exposing it to ultraviolet light after treating it with photosensitizing medicine. This kills the cancer cells and then the treated blood is passed back into the body.
- Stem cell transplant is also advised to treat CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. This method involves replacing the diseased bone marrow with the healthy bone marrow obtained from the eligible donor under the influence of chemotherapy drugs which helps in suppressing the diseased bone marrow. The replaced stem cells help in building the new bone marrow.
- Clinical trials can also be beneficial for treating CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. These methods involve the latest treatment procedures under research.
Coping with CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
Coping with CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma is a challenging process. CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma can make it hard for the individual to cope up by affecting the way you feel and lead your life. With symptoms of CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, it is not easy to enjoy your hobbies and social activities. It can make you feel scared, sad and lonely. The subtle changes in your appearance can be very uncomfortable to deal. You can get tired too soon during your routine activities and start wondering if you will be able to fight the condition.
However with the help of some techniques, you can take care of the issues affecting your mentally and physically. While being affected by a chronic illness like CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, it is necessary to ensure proper health and fitness.
You will have to try various treatment options for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma to find the one that suits you best and settle with it. However with time you might have to change the treatment and look for better options. Fortunately better options are evolving quickly.
Seek help and guidance from your healthcare team to find the right treatment procedure. Also you have to prepare yourself for the changes in your appearance because of the plagues and lesions that may occur on your area like neck, face etc… which are easily noticeable. It can take your confidence away.
It is always hard to deal with the changes in case of a chronic disease like CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. You have to be ready for the physical changes, emotional disturbances and logistical hurdles to cope up better. It is recommended to seek help from the family and friends, healthcare teams and everyone else who is close to you in overcoming the challenges and coping up.
The patient may feel one of more of the following physical problems while coping with CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma:
- Difficulty in sleeping due to itching.
- Signs of infection in skin including hot and sore spots.
- Signs of skin burning of appearance of flakes.
- Signs of inflammation in the skin tumors.
- Problems with sleeping because of uncomfortable symptoms and itching.
- Difficulty in choosing the right set of clothes which can make you feel comfortable.
- Lack of time for your routine activities as you will need to give extra time for taking care of your skin.
- The appearance of cracks and scales on your hands may make it hard to use them normally.
- It is not comfortable to go through your routine or work as you get tired quickly and skin patches makes it awkward.
It is important to stay in touch of your health care provider and seek help on managing and getting rid of symptoms of CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. With the proper medications and help of your doctor, you can suppress your symptoms and side effects easily.
One of the ways to make yourself feel better is to distract yourself by engaging in your hobbies like music or going out for an energetic walk. Maintain a proper record of your symptoms and feelings so that you can share it with your support team to help them understand your condition better. If you are having trouble or difficulty with the treatment procedures of medications for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, share it with your doctor. This will help him or her to find alternative treatments that are less troublesome for you to adapt and suppress any side effects.
One of the main troubles with the patients of CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma is the appearance of the plagues, skin redness, dry patches and tumors on skin hampers your appearance and makes you feel awkward affecting your self-confidence and ability to face people. It is difficult to feel good about yourself when you are coping with CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma as you are in a lot of discomfort and also your appearance chances making you feel awkward. You tend to get into depression because you start to detach yourself from friends and crowd getting into a world of loneliness. Thus it is important to share your feelings and discomfort with your family or friends who can understand and help you cope up with the situation.
Some patients can easily lose hope and start accepting the situation which does not help at all in the treatment. It is necessary to have a positive attitude to deal with the challenges and problems of CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma.
It is understandable with the patients of CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma to feel frustrated, concerned and depressed but with some help you can be in a better situation to deal with the situation. Try to seek help from friends and family members who are supportive. You can also try to find people suffering with same condition to find support.
It is helpful to hire someone to take care of your home chores and assist you with the routines activities. If the condition gets worse, insurance company or healthcare provider can help you get a skilled care to help you with dressing, skin care and other treatment procedures.
The patients of CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma can go through a lot of mood swings. You may have to tackle with spontaneous feelings of:
- Anger, concern and fear.
- Doubting that you are actually suffering from cancer.
- Unable to control yourself or not able to take care of yourself.
- Loneliness, guilty, helpless and sadness.
- Wondering if you will be able to survive
It is normal to have such feelings when coping with CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma and you are perfectly fine even if you are going through a lot of mood swings or emotional ups and downs as it can happen in a chronic disease. Here are some ways to help you out in coping up with these situations:
- Try to gather more and more information about the disease as it helps you get aware of the situation and tackle it in a positive manner. Learn about the various treatment options for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma.
- One of the best ways to find help is to join a support group for CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma. It offers you the support of many more people who are going through the same difficulties and thus you can get a lot of support and learn about coping up in better way. Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation is one of those places where you get good support.
- Discuss your situation one-on-one with spiritual advisor, counselor, nurse, close friend or family member.
- Most important thing is to have hope as it develops a positive attitude which can really help in fighting out the situation. There are many people suffering with CTCL or Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma who are alive and leading normal lives.