What is it?

Mycosis fungoides is a subtype of cutaneous T cell lymphoma, which is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In this disease, lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell (responsible for fighting infections), multiply without control and become malignant (cancerous). These cancerous cells affect the skin, and potentially the lymph nodes, blood, and internal organs.
Mycosis fungoides is more common in men, and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 40 to 60.
The progression of the disease is usually slow, and only in a minority of patients does it progress to the later stages. In the advanced stages, the chance of the disease spreading out of the skin increases. The chances of recovery from mycosis fungoides (the prognosis) depend on the stage of the disease, as well as on age, gender and the type of the skin lesions.
Mycosis fungoides is hard to cure and treatment is aimed to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. Patients with early stage disease may live many years.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Alibert-Bazin Syndrome
- Granuloma Fungoides

Signs & symptoms

Mycosis fungoides begins in a pre-mycotic phase in which a scaly and red rash appears in areas of the body that are usually not exposed to the sun. This rash does not cause symptoms and may last for months or years. In later phases, additional skin symptoms may appear, including itchy rash, patches of discoloration, plaques (elevated, solid, superficial lesions), tumors on the skin, ulcers and skin infections. Additional symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, alopecia (hair loss) and thickening of the skin on the palms and soles.


The diagnosis of mycosis fungoides can be challenging, as the disease is relatively rare and due to its resemblance to other skin diseases (like eczema or psoriasis). Diagnosis process begins with an examination by a doctor. If mycosis fungoides is suspected, your doctor will ask for a skin biopsy, a test in which a small piece of skin is removed and viewed under a microscope to look for cancerous lymphocytes. Imaging tests, such as CT, MRI or PET-CT, may also be needed.


There are different types of treatment for patients with mycosis fungoides, and most people receive a combination of them. Treatment options include:
- Skin creams and ointments. These products contain chemotherapy (a treatment that kills quickly growing cells), steroids or vitamin A medicines called retinoids.
- Phototherapy. This treatment uses UV light to treat skin lesions.
- Radiation therapy. This treatment uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.
- Systemic chemotherapy. Unlike topical chemotherapy (given in ointments), systemic chemotherapy is given orally or intravenously and thus reaches distant sites in the body that may be contamination by cancer.
- Biological therapy, including targeted therapy (treatment that target cancer cells specifically using its biological characteristics) and immunotherapy (treatment that activate the immune system to fight cancer cells).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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