Richard’s Story: Living with CTCL

Meet Richard. Six years ago he was diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), a rare condition in which malfunctioning T cells result in uncontrolled skin growth that appears as patches of red scales or thickened plaques. It sometimes involves tumour growth and can involve the lymph nodes and internal organs if it reaches an advanced stage.

Interviewed by CSPA Board member Preet Bhogal

Tell us about yourself and where you live. I’m 40 years old and live in Toronto. I work in the finance industry and have a wife and three kids.

How long have you been a CTCL patient? I was diagnosed about six years ago, but probably had the condition for three or four years before being diagnosed.

How does it affect your daily living? It doesn’t affect my daily living significantly. I get occasional rashes; I use creams I get from the doctor. At one point I went for light treatment three times a week for a half hour— that was a bit of a hassle, but not really a big impact.

How does CTCL affect your personal relationships? At first there was a high stress level around the initial diagnosis because of the shock of a cancer diagnosis, but now that we know more about it the stress level is much lower. It is more of a chronic condition that needs to be managed.

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