Cutaneous Lymphoma

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Duke specialists treat all forms of this rare cancer, including cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Cutaneous lymphoma, which begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes, causes various skin changes, including a dry, scaly, itchy red rash and larger growths and tumors. Our specialists are recognized for their skill in diagnosing this condition and for testing new therapies and approaches to care. Our goal is to start treatment at the earliest stage possible to slow disease progression and improve your quality of life.

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Our goal is to begin treatment as early as possible to deliver the best outcomes and to slow the progression of the disease. Treatments clear up the rashes or tumors on your skin and relieve pain, itching, burning, and redness.


Administered as an ointment applied directly on the affected skin to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. If cutaneous lymphoma progresses to later stages, conventional chemotherapy treatments, taken either orally or intravenously, may be used.

Phototherapy (Light Therapy)

This form of radiation therapy uses ultraviolet light to kill or slow the progression of cancer cells that cause cutaneous lymphoma.


Medication applied to the skin boosts your body’s immune system while destroying tumor cells.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


While there is no cure for cutaneous lymphoma, an accurate diagnosis is key to finding the most effective treatment.

Comprehensive Physical Exam

Your doctor will evaluate the size, shape, color, and texture of skin rashes and check your lymph nodes, which contain your immune cells, to determine if they are enlarged. Blood tests help confirm a diagnosis of cutaneous lymphoma.

Skin Biopsy

The doctor removes tissue samples from the affected areas. The samples are viewed under a microscope to check for cancerous cells.

Imaging Tests

Chest X-ray, CT, and MRI scans determine if cutaneous lymphoma has spread to lymph nodes or other organs.

Why Choose Duke

Extensive Knowledge and Experience
We are a national referral center for cutaneous lymphoma patients. While this condition is often difficult to diagnose, we have the knowledge and experience to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment.

Clinical Trial Access
We are involved in clinical trials to help set national guidelines for treating this disease. As a result, you may be eligible to participate in ongoing clinical trials, which test therapies before they are widely available.

A Team of Specialists
When appropriate, our dermatologists work with lymphoma specialists, including medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists. We ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment for your condition.

Best Cancer Hospital in North Carolina

Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2024–2025.