Cutaneous lymphoma is a visible cutaneous malignancy, which especially in the more severe forms may have a profound effect on patients lives. The aim of this study was to evaluate quality of life (QoL), psychological distress, and alexithymia in patients with cutaneous lymphoma referring to a dermatological hospital, and to correlate these results with clinical parameters. QoL was evaluated with the Skindex-29, that measures QoL in skin conditions on three scale (symptoms, emotions, and functioning), and the EORTC QLQ-C30, that assesses the QoL of cancer patients. Presence of minor non-psychotic psychiatric disorders was assessed using the GHQ-12, defining as case patients scoring 4 or more; alexithymia was evaluated using the TAS-20 questionnaire. In our ongoing study, we analysed data from the first 66 patients. Of them, 67% were men, the mean age was 58 years (range: 26–85y), and there were 15 patients (23%) with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CTBL), and 51 with T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), 6 of them with Sézary Syndrome. In our population, 31.3% of patients were GHQ-cases, 18.6% had alexithymia, and another 22% possible alexithymia. Dermatology-specific QoL was particularly impaired in the symptoms and the emotions scales. QoL was always significantly more impaired in patients with CTCL than in those with CBCL. Also, the prevalence of GHQ-cases was higher (35% in CTCL vs 13% in CBCL), as well as the prevalence of people with alexithymia (48% vs 20%). Skindex-29 and TAS-20 scores significantly correlated with the T stage of lymphoma (i.e., the higher the stage, the lower the QoL and the higher the prevalence of alexithymia). The evaluation of quality of life and psychological problems in patients with cutaneous lymphomas may help clinicians to better manage the disease and its burden on patients life. Also, the relation between quality of life impairment and clinical variables may give important information on the course of the disease as well as the possible effect of treatment.
This study has been supported by Ministero Italiano della Salute
Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.