Mycosis fungoides is a type of lymphoma, which is a blood tumor affecting the skin.
The condition is typically marked by an itchy rash, tumor or lesion. Most people who have it will have the rash over many years. It is very difficult to determine if someone has mycosis fungoides, and usually several biopsies are required over a number of years before the proper diagnosis can be made.
What causes mycosis fungoides to develop?
Like many lymphomas the exact cause is unknown at this time, although there may be a genetic component to it. It tends to not occur in children and be more prevalent in men than in women. There is some scientific evidence that it may be connected to preexisting virus or allergic dermatitis.
There are three stages of the disease and biopsies and other tests will need to be conducted in order to determine if in fact your condition is MF and what stage it is in. Because the symptoms mimic many other skin conditions it is often quite difficult to determine whether or not you have mycosis fungoides. That is why it often takes quite some time before doctors know for sure.
What are the treatment options for lymphoma?
Treatment is temporarily effective, and may need to be continued for quite a while to achieve results. There is no cure for mycosis fungoides.
Ultraviolet light (PUVA) will often help control the condition. This involves visiting your dermatologist’s office typically two to three times a week for ten to fifteen minutes.
Mild mycosis fungoides can be treated effectively with cortisone ointments.
Nitrogen mustard, a chemotherapy drug, is sometimes applied to the skin to control the condition. Photochemotherapy or photopheresis is a technique used at major medical centers for the treatment of the condition. Other possible treatments include radiation, interferon alpha and fusion proteins.