Dermatologic Cancer

Cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin

Conditions


Basal Cell Carcinoma: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, with more than 4 million people diagnosed in the United States each year. Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on skin surfaces that are exposed to sunlight, commonly on the head and neck.

Basal cell carcinoma appears as a change in the skin, such as a growth or sore that won’t heal. These changes in the skin (lesions) are usually pearly white, skin colored, or pink bump that you can see a bit through its surface. Tiny blood vessels are often visible. It can also appear as a brown, black, or blue
lesion, a flat scaly, reddish patch with a raised edge, or a white waxy scar-like lesion.


Doctors may remove the cancer in the office by scraping and burning it with an electric needle (a procedure called curettage and electrodessication) or by cutting it out. Doctors may destroy the cancer by using extreme cold (cryosurgery).


Certain chemotherapy drugs may be applied to the skin. Photodynamic therapy, in which chemicals and a laser are applied to the skin, also may be used. Occasionally, radiation therapy is used.

A technique called Mohs microscopically controlled surgery may be required for some basal cell carcinomas that are large or regrow or occur in certain areas, such as around the nose and eyes.

People whose cancer has spread to nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body (metastasized), or people who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy may be given drugs by mouth.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma: Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) is rare and persistent slow-growing type of non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Lymphomas are cancers that affect a specific type of white blood cell which help fight infections and regulate the immune system.

The most common types of CTCL are:

Mycosis fungoides: Mycosis fungoides is a slow and subtle growth that may go undetected at first. It can cause a long-lasting itch rash. In some people, it turns into Sezary Syndrome, a form of leukemia. In others, it may progress into lymph nodes and internal organs. The disease is often mistaken for other skin conditions, and can be misdiagnosed.


Sezary Syndrome: Sezary syndrome is also a slow growing and subtle. The skin turns red all over the body with cracking of the palms and soles. This disease is also difficult to diagnose in early stages.


Treatment may be directed at the skin such as phototherapy or topical gels and creams, or therapy may be given to the entire body with chemotherapy or targeted drugs. Therapy usually begins as skin directed therapy. If CTCL progresses after skin directed therapy, chemotherapy may be given, as well as in those whose cancer has spread beyond the skin.

Medications

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