Skin Rash that May be Cancer
Every time we get rashes on our skin our go-to response is to get the ointment or pop a pill to alleviate the symptoms. But not all rashes are indicative of a simple allergic reaction. For some individuals that rash may already be a sign of cancer.
One particular disease that is often misdiagnosed as a simple rash is mycosis fungoides.
What is mycosis fungoides?
When an individual suffers from mycosis fungoides what happens is that white blood cells grow out of control, which then moves to the skin. This happens when the white blood cells, aka T-cells, move to the skin that’s when rashes appear and a lot of people mistake them for mere allergic reactions.
Until now, doctors aren’t sure what causes mycosis fungoides. They suspect that the following factors could be the catalysts for this disease: genes, viral infection or exposure to chemicals. What they do know is that men are more prone to this disease than women and that people in their 50s to 60s are the ones who often go through this ordeal.
People with mycosis fungoides often exhibit the following symptoms:
- Scaly red rash: this is what often appears first and they often appear in the butt area or where sunlight does not often touch the skin
- Thin red rash, which look like patches
- Small red bumps or red plaques
- Mushroom-like tumors or bumps that can break and get infected
As you can see it may be difficult to diagnose an individual suffering from mycosis fungoides because the symptoms can often be mistaken for psoriasis, eczema or any other skin problem.
If you suspect that you may have mycosis fungoides it’s important to consult a physician right away. Your physician will do a biopsy on your skin and see if there are any signs of cancer.
If you do have mycosis fungoides your doctor will prescribe a treatment that will depend on the severity of your condition. Ointments, creams, gels or lotions: your physician can prescribe these treatments if your skin condition isn’t too severe yet.
Corticosteroids, retinoids and chemotherapy drugs can be applied on the skin directly to alleviate the symptoms and even curb the cancer from growing.
Phototherapy: doctors can also prescribe this kind of treatment wherein your skin will be exposed to ultraviolet light, which has the capability to heal it.
Radiation: if your mycosis fungoides is quite severe then your physician might prescribe radiation therapy to cure your cancer. Oftentimes, radiation therapy is used when all other treatments weren’t successful.
There are two kinds of radiation therapies that can be used: spot treatment or total skin radiation. Spot treatment is used if your mycosis fungoides hasn’t spread and it only appears in some areas of your body. Total skin radiation is used when it has already spread to other parts of your body.
Other treatments are: chemotherapy, targeted and biologic therapy, retinoid pills and photopherosis.