Diseases such as lymphoma and leukaemia can affect a wide spectrum of age groups from children to older adults. The skin can be affected in various ways in patients with blood diseases. Sometimes this may be the blood problem directly affecting the skin, for example by causing severe itching without a rash, or directly spreading to the skin. More commonly, the skin is affected by the treatment given to patients to treat the blood cancer such as chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.
Dermatologists are involved with patients with blood disorders at all stages, from initial diagnosis to treatment complications. Chemotherapy reactions can range from simple redness and peeling of the hands and feet, to more severe widespread redness of the skin.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a common complication in patients who have been given a bone marrow transplant by another person. This can present in many different ways and some degree of GVHD is considered a good sign that the transplant is working. For more information on this, please read the patient information leaflet on cutaneous GVHD.