Heather Wickless, M.D., M.P.H.
Dermatologist Heather Wickless, M.D., M.P.H., specializes in evaluating and treating patients with cutaneous lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that develops in the skin.
Dr. Wickless sees patients in UT Southwestern Medical Center’s dedicated cutaneous lymphoma clinic, where a multidisciplinary team of specialists is united under one roof.
“Because cutaneous lymphoma is a rare condition that can be hard to recognize, diagnose, and treat, it often requires coordination of care between multiple specialties,” she says. “Our team of cutaneous lymphoma experts includes dermatologists, oncologists, radiation oncologists, and others.”
The cutaneous lymphoma spectrum is broad, Dr. Wickless notes. Not only are there different cellular varieties of the disease but the course of cutaneous lymphoma can range from very aggressive to low-grade and slow-growing.
“This is why effectively treating cutaneous lymphoma isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition – and why it’s so important to accurately diagnose it as early as possible and to tailor the treatments to address the specific needs of each individual patient,” she says.
As a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Wickless also examines patients for skin cancer and evaluates and treats people with a broad range of non-cancerous skin conditions, including rosacea, acne, psoriasis, and moles. She has a special interest in preventing and treating the effects of chronic sun damage.
The Art and Science of Diagnosis
Dr. Wickless – who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree – is active in dermatology education, as well, and enjoys integrating visual art concepts into her teaching.
“Diagnosing skin diseases is sort of like taking an art history class,” she says. “If you look at a Van Gogh, you know it's a Van Gogh, and if you look at a Matisse, you know it's a Matisse – and you can explain in detail why it's one or the other.”
The same is true for many skin conditions, she explains.
“Certain conditions have very distinct features and appearances, and just looking at a person’s skin can tell us a lot about what’s going on with his or her health.”
Dr. Wickless is also interested in preserving the history of dermatology and maintains a website dedicated to that.