Is mycosis fungoides deadly? How is mycosis fungoides treated?

What is mycosis fungoides?

Mycosis fungoides is an uncommon chronic type of malignancy which can last for many years. In its early stages it usually affects the skin and may stay confined to one area for years. The disease is slowly progressive, and patients live for many years with localized disease. Eventually the lymph nodes and internal organs may become involved.

Is mycosis fungoides some kind of fungus?

The disease was named several centuries ago when it was thought to be caused by some kind of fungus. It has long been recognized that it is a disease primarily affecting the reticuloendothelial system cells scattered throughout the body which destroy other cells, bacteria, and fragments of foreign materials, form antibodies, and regulate the immune reaction and the formation of blood cells.

Is mycosis fungoides a form of leukemia?

Because it may arise simultaneously in many different areas of the skin, mycosis fungoides is considered to be a T-cell lymphoma related to Hodgkin's disease and leukemia, two other systemic cancers which affect the lymph and blood systems. However, mycosis fungoides has a tendency to remain confined to the skin for long periods of time, unlike Hodgkin's disease and leukemia, which spread rapidly if untreated.

What are the stages of mycosis fungoides?

There are three stages of the disease. The first is called the promycotic stage. Reddish plaquelike tumors of scaly, thickened skin develop. They itch and have a tendency to spread and ulcerate. The plaques, which may resemble eczema or psoriasis, may be found almost anywhere on the back, arms, stomach, face, or scalp. This stage can persist for several years or longer without distinctive biopsy changes which would enable a positive diagnosis to be made.

The second stage is the infiltration stage. The lymph nodes may be enlarged. The skin becomes infiltrated with an overgrowth of the reticuloendothelial cells of several kinds. This allows a microscopic diagnosis to be made. In the third stage, large tumors develop on the skin. They may become ulcerated, painful, and odoriferous. In the fourth stage, the lymph nodes, liver, or lung may be involved.

Mycosis Fungoides and Sèzary Syndrome

How is mycosis fungoides treated?

Entire skin radiation therapy may be the treatment. Topical chemotherapy with compounds such as nitrogen mustard may be used. Ultraviolet light treatments may be used. Systemic chemotherapy may be prescribed as the disease progresses. Sometimes radiation treatment is added to the chemotherapy.

What is Sezary syndrome?

Sezary syndrome is a more advanced form of mycosis fungoides and is considered to be a T-cell lymphoma.

Is mycosis fungoides fatal?

mycosis fungoides is a unusual type of cancer. It usually affects females but can also occur in males. In the past, it was nearly always fatal. However, thanks to medical progress, most people with an early diagnosis can receive effective, lifesaving treatment.

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