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Ask a Dermatologist Free: Cutaneous T Cell Lymphoma

Dear Doctor

I’ve had these patches of dried-looking skin on the insides of both my elbows for a very long time now. They do not itch nor do they bother me but I don’t know what this condition is and would like to know so that I can donate blood. I don’t think it is eczema because of the fact that they do not bother me and I’ve tried creams before and they do not help.

CAM00748 dorothy

Dear Patient

You are quite correct when you say that you do not think it is eczema because one of the major criteria required to make that diagnosis is pruritis (itchiness).

I therefore recommend that you:

1. Get a KOH Skin Scrapings Test

The KOH (potassium hydroxide) test examines skin scrapings  for the presence of fungal infections like Tinea corporis which can cause similar lesions in that part of he body.

2. Get a Skin Biopsy done

Cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTLC) or mycosis fungoides is a type of skin cancer which is notorious for mimicking eczema.

As you can see from the picture below, it can cause dry lesions in the antecubital fossa (elbow fold) that resemble those of atopic dermatitis. This patient had been treated for many years for eczema with minimal improvement until she was referred to us. We did a biopsy and found that she had CTLC. Therefore get a skin biospy done.

cutaneous T cell lymphoma

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