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Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)

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The cause of LCH is not known.

The signs and symptoms of LCH depend on where it occurs in the body.

These and other symptoms may be caused by LCH. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following problems:

Skin and nails

In infants, signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Flaking of the scalp that may look like "cradle cap".
  • Raised, brown or purple spots anywhere on the body.

In children and adults, signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Flaking of the scalp that may look like dandruff.
  • Raised, red or brown, crusted rash in the groin area, abdomen, back, or chest, that may be itchy.
  • Bumps or ulcers on the scalp.
  • Ulcers behind the ears, under the breasts, or in the groin area.
  • Fingernails with discolored grooves that run the length of the nail or lost nails.

Mouth

Signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Swollen gums.
  • Sores on the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks, or on the tongue or lips.
  • Having teeth that become uneven.
  • Tooth loss.

Bone

Signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Swelling or a lump over a bone, such as the skull, ribs, spine, thigh bone, upper arm bone, elbow, or eye socket.
  • Pain where there is swelling or a lump over a bone.

Lymph nodes and thymus

Signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Trouble breathing.

Endocrine system (including the pituitary gland)

Signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Diabetes insipidus. This can cause a strong thirst and frequent urination.
  • Slow growth.
  • Late puberty.

Thyroid

Signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Swollen thyroid gland.
  • Hypothyroidism. This can cause tiredness, lack of energy, being sensitive to cold, constipation, dry skin, thinning hair, memory problems, trouble concentrating, and depression. In infants, this can also cause a loss of appetite and choking on food. In children and teens, this can also cause behavior problems, weight gain, slow growth, and late puberty.
  • Trouble breathing.

Central nervous system

Signs and symptoms of LCH may include:

  • Loss of balance, uncoordinated body motions, and trouble walking.
  • Trouble speaking.
  • Changes in behavior.
  • Memory problems.
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