Skip to the main content.

6 min read

Understanding Skin Cancer Types: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Skin Cancer Types: A Comprehensive Guide

Skin cancer is a prevalent and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the skin cells undergo abnormal changes, usually due to exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or other sources.

While skin cancer can manifest in various forms, this comprehensive guide will focus on four major types: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, Mycosis Fungoides, and Sezary Syndrome. Understanding some of the different skin cancer types, like infiltrative basal cell carcinoma, is crucial for early detection and effective treatment, including immunology. Please consult with your physician for the best treatment course for you.

Senderra Dermatology Specialty Pharmacy

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal Cell Carcinoma, often abbreviated as BCC, is the most common form of skin cancer. It primarily affects the basal cells in the deepest layer of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. BCC is typically slow-growing and rarely metastasizes, making it highly treatable if detected early.

Signs and symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma include:

  • Pearly or waxy bump on the skin.
  • A sore that doesn't heal or keeps returning.
  • Pink, red, or brown patches that resemble scars.
  • Sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, and ears are most susceptible.

Treatment options vary, including surgical excision, Mohs micrographic surgery,  electrodessication and curettage, topical creams and dermatology specialty medications.

Specialty medications play a limited role in the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) compared to other forms of cancer, as BCC is typically treated with surgical or localized therapies. However, in certain cases, specialty medications can be considered as part of the treatment plan.

Here's how specialty medications may help those with Basal Cell Carcinoma:

It's important to note that the use of specialty medications for BCC is generally reserved for cases where the cancer is advanced, has metastasized, or is inoperable. Most cases of BCC can be effectively treated with surgical procedures like excision, Mohs surgery, or electrodessication and curettage. Additionally, prevention and early detection remain the most effective strategies for managing BCC.

Patients with Basal Cell Carcinoma should consult with a dermatologist or oncologist to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on the specific characteristics and stage of their cancer. Treatment decisions should be made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the patient's overall health, the extent of the cancer, and the potential risks and benefits of different treatment options, including specialty medications.

How can you prevent BCC? Protect your skin from UV rays with sunscreen and protective clothing and avoid tanning beds and excessive sun exposure.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL)

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that primarily affects the skin. Two common subtypes of CTCL include Mycosis Fungoides and Sezary Syndrome.

Mycosis Fungoides (MF)

Mycosis Fungoides is the most common subtype of CTCL and typically progresses slowly over many years. It often starts as a rash and may be misdiagnosed as eczema or psoriasis in its early stages.

Signs and symptoms of Mycosis Fungoides include:

  • Itchy, scaly, red rash.
  • Patches or plaques on the skin.
  • In advanced stages, tumors may develop.

Treatment options vary, including topical medications, phototherapy (light therapy), radiation therapy, systemic treatments in advanced cases and specialty medications.

Specialty medications are often used to control the disease, alleviate symptoms, and improve the patient's quality of life.

Here's how specialty medications can help those with Mycosis Fungoides:

Specialty medications and treatments for Mycosis Fungoides are typically tailored to the specific stage of the disease, the patient's overall health, and the extent of skin involvement. Patients with MF should work closely with a dermatologist or oncologist specializing in CTCL to determine the most appropriate treatment plan and to monitor the response to therapy closely. Early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary approach to care are essential in managing this rare and complex condition.

At this time, there are no known ways to prevent Mycosis Fungoides.

Sezary Syndrome

Sezary Syndrome is a rare and aggressive form of CTCL that affects both the skin and the bloodstream. It is characterized by the presence of malignant T-cells in the blood.

Signs and symptoms of Sezary Syndrome include:

  • Widespread red, itchy rash.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Thickened, red skin (erythroderma).
  • Abnormal lymphocytes in the blood.

Treatment options vary, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, stem cell transplant in some cases, and specialty medications.

Specialty medications can be instrumental in the treatment of Sezary Syndrome, a rare and aggressive form of Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) that affects both the skin and the bloodstream. Sezary Syndrome typically requires a multifaceted approach to manage the disease, and specialty medications are often a critical component of this treatment strategy.

Here's how specialty medications can help those with Sezary Syndrome:


It's important to note that the treatment of Sezary Syndrome often involves a combination of therapies, and the choice of treatment will depend on the individual patient's health status, the stage of the disease, and their response to previous treatments. The goal of therapy in Sezary Syndrome is to control the disease, improve the patient's quality of life, and manage symptoms.

Patients with Sezary Syndrome should work closely with a hematologist-oncologist or a specialist experienced in the management of CTCL to develop a personalized treatment plan that considers their unique needs and circumstances. Close monitoring and ongoing communication with the healthcare team are essential in managing this complex and aggressive form of lymphoma.

Due to its rare and poorly understood nature, there are no specific prevention methods for Sezary Syndrome.


Dermatologic Cancer Specialty Pharmacy

Senderra offers specialized immunology treatments for more than 15 specialties including Dermatologic Cancer, autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis, MS, psoriasis, alopecia, eczema and atopic dermatitis, chronic asthma, lupus, gastroenterology, immune system disorders, dermatologic diseases, Hidradenitis Suppurativa and more.

Have questions? Talk to a Senderra representative today!

New call-to-action

About Senderra

Senderra-Logo_Mark-Only_COLOR-1Senderra is a national specialty pharmacy, serving patients with challenging and ongoing medical conditions, like autoimmune disorders, through provision of specialty medicationsclinical expertise and support services

We dedicate ourselves to designing and executing a model to serve the needs of our patients and partners (PrescribersPharma and Payers) in order to make a difference and effect positive outcomes. 


No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. 


Mayo Clinic


Oncology Patient Resources

Oncology Patient Resources

Cancer.Net is the patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All patient education content is reviewed and...

Read More
Hepatitis C Patient Education Resources

Hepatitis C Patient Education Resources

An estimated 2.4 million people are living with Hepatitis C in the United States. About 4 in 10 people with Hepatitis C do not know they are...

Read More
A Guide to Biologics & Specialty Pharmacies for Psoriatic Arthritis

A Guide to Biologics & Specialty Pharmacies for Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It's a condition that not only causes joint pain...

Read More