Mycosis Fungoides Facts and Mycosis Fungoides Treatment
Article describes mycosis fungoides, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome (MF/SS) are neoplasias of malignant T lymphocytes that usually possess the helper/inducer cell surface phenotype. These kinds of neoplasms initially present as skin involvement and as such have been classified as cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. It affects men twice as often as women, and is more common in black people than in whites. Mycosis fungoides can begin at any age, but the most common age is 50 years old. Mycosis fungoides is unrelated to fungus and the fungoides portion derives from a patient with a severe case whom Alibert described as having mushroom-like skin tumors. Mycosis fungoides can occur at any age but it is most common in the 40-60 year old age group.
Various theories implicate occupational or environmental exposures (eg, Agent Orange), other forms of chronic antigenic stimulation, or viral exposures; however, the etiology of MF remains unknown.
Mycosis fungoides progresses in stages, which are defined by the skin symptoms:
* Patch phase - The skin has flat, red patches; in dark-skinned individuals these may appear as either very light or very dark patches.
* In early stages it appears as patches of thick, scaly skin (called plaques) that look like eczema or psoriasis
*Lymph node stage - In this stage, mycosis fungoides begins to move to other parts of the body. The first parts affected are the lymph nodes, which become inflamed, and often cancerous
A physical examination, history of the symptoms, blood tests, and skin biopsy are usually the key to diagnosing this cancer. The blood tests examine the health of the internal organs and look for cancer cells in the blood. The skin biopsy checks for the typical microscopic changes seen in this disease
Treatments and cures
If treatment is successful the disease can go into a non-progressing state with clinically clear examination and various tests. This is called remission; it can last indefinitely. Treatments may also cause disease not to progress, while still present, and this is called stable disease; it may last indefinitely but is a more serious situation. Disease may also progress, to involve nodes, blood and internal organs, or transform into a higher-grade lymphoma.
Common treatments include simple sunlight, ultraviolet light, topical steroids, topical and systemic chemotherapies, local superficial radiotherapy, total skin electron beam radiation, and biological therapies (e.g. interferons, retinoids, rexinoids).Vorinostat (Zolinza®) is a second-line drug for CTCL. Application of organic (Manuka) honey to skin affected by erythorderma (red skin) has also proved to be effective in reducing inflammation. Treatments are often used in combination.