Diagnosing and treating mycosis fungoides

Diagnosing and treating mycosis fungoides

Also known as Albert-Bazin syndrome or granuloma fungoides, mycosis fungoides are a form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, which is a type of skin cancer caused due to the uncontrolled growth of a type of white blood cells called T-cells. The disease affects the skin but might progress internally over time and develop into something that is more serious.

The symptoms of Mycosis fungoides range from a simple rash to itchy and persistent hard scaly plaques that might develop tumors.

Diagnosing mycosis fungoides
If the skin rash is persistent and does not subside after taking prescribed medications, then the doctors might ask for a biopsy test. Under this test, the doctor will take a small portion of the skin rash and examine it under a microscope to see if it has a malignant growth. Several biopsies might be needed to confirm the same.

The doctors will also take blood samples to count the number of red blood cells and platelets, and specifically count the number of T white blood cells.

A laboratory test called as flow cytometry measures the number of live blood cells in a sample of blood. It also looks for certain characteristics of blood cells such as its shape, size, and the presence of a tumor that makes it carcinogenic. To confirm the same, a group of cells or tissue is stained with a light-sensitive dye and passed through a laser.

Treating mycosis fungicides
People stay in remission for a long time even if the disease is not cured completely. The early stages of mycosis fungicides are treated with normal medications and therapies that only target your skin. If not cured, then doctors or oncologists might use a different approach.

Topical creams, gels, and lotions
These are used for treating the early phases of this disease. The doctors will prescribe corticosteroids, vitamin medicines called as retinoids. They might also use chemotherapy medications to clear the rashes on the skin to control the growth of cancer.

This therapy uses ultraviolet rays of light to heal the skin. The patient might sometimes be required to take specific medications beforehand to make the T-cells more sensitive to light. Radiation therapy might be used for more advanced stages. This involves an electron beam that will specifically target the rashes on the skin and burn the cancerous growth on it.

This therapy also involves the use of ultraviolet rays; however, instead of exposing the skin to ultraviolet light, the blood is passed through a machine that takes out T-cells. The blood is treated with certain medications and then exposed to ultraviolet rays.