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How Do You Know If Your Skin Cancer Is Potentially Fatal?

Aug 17, 2007
Technically speaking, all skin cancer is potentially lethal if not treated. However, there are more serious forms of the condition, though they are a lot rarer.

Mycosis Fungoides

Mycosis Fungoides is an extremely rare form of skin cancer and it tends to affect twice as many men as it does women. Many people assume that it is an innocent fungal infection when they first hear the name; however it is in fact a much more sinister condition which is a type of cutaneous T cell Lymphoma.

Generally a cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma is an uncontrollable growth within the skin of the T cells within the body. Whilst most people do not notice any change to their daily life once they do have Mycosis Fungoides, it still does need to be treated as soon as possible.

Who Mycosis Fungoides affects the Most and what causes it:

Mycosis Fungoides seems to affect black skinned people more than fair skinned people, and as mentioned earlier, it tends to affect men more than women.

Whilst it is possible for the condition to strike at any age, it does seem to affect older people generally over the age of fifty. Why the condition appears is currently unknown but you definitely cannot pass it on to anybody else. The condition is also not hereditary and the symptoms do tend to vary from person to person.

Itching seems to be the most common form of symptom in most people, and the condition itself seems to appear in various stages. During its early stages, the skin will develop small patches of redness, though in darker skins the patches may simply just look darker than usual.

The patches are generally extremely itchy and you may notice that some patches are raised from the skin. They tend to appear mainly on the buttocks, under the arms, on the hips and on the chest.

The second stage usually includes skin tumors. The color of the lumps seems to now be a violet color and they are also raised. They are sometimes ulcerated, though that does not happen all the time.

Next is the redness stage where as well as skin patches and raised lumps, large sections of the skin also turn red. These areas of the skin also tend to be really itchy and they often look quite scaly too. You may also notice that the folds of skin on your face and in the palms of your hands become quite thick and they could even crack.

Finally, if not treated, the condition tends to spread to other parts of the body and usually the first parts of the body to be affected are the lymph nodes.

These then become inflamed and at this stage they can become cancerous. If they are cancerous, the condition can spread to the liver, the lungs and even the bone marrow.

Usually, it takes around six years to diagnose Mycosis Fungoides from the start of the symptoms appearing. This can make it difficult to treat early and as mentioned, people generally do not know they have the condition and so their normal lives are usually not disrupted.

It is extremely common to confuse the condition with other conditions and usually in order to fully diagnose this condition; a skin sample will need to be taken.

Usually if caught early, steroid creams can be used to clear up the condition, though if it is cancerous, chemotherapy may need to be used. As rare as it is, Mycosis Fungoides does occur in some people and it does take an extremely long time to realize that you actually have it.

It usually does not turn out to be fatal, but if it is left untreated for an extremely long length of time from diagnosis, it can unfortunately lead to death.

Any type of skin cancer is potentially dangerous, you just have to catch it early enough and look out for any symptoms whatsoever that give the condition away.
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