Mycosis fungoides is a rare condition of the skin which is characterized by the proliferation of white blood cells within the skin. The exact cause of mycosis fungoides is not known. It can be a sign of serious illness like blood cancer. It starts with a scaly red rash, gradually turning into red patches, red hard plaques and tumors or bumps with itching and scaling. It can occur at any age but is more common after 50 years of age. It develops gradually and rarely spreads to other organs. It has frequent remissions. It can be treated, but it can’t be cured completely.
Can Mycosis Fungoides Be Cured?
Mycosis fungoides is a rare skin problem. It is also called Alibert-Bazin syndrome. In this condition, T cells (a type of white blood cells) grow too much and proliferate from the blood into the skin. These T cells are mature malignant cells that appear on the skin. It is a lymphoma a type of cancer. This process of proliferation is very slow and gradual and may take several years to appear. It is limited to the skin. In 10 % of patients with this condition, it may affect lymph nodes and other internal organs. It signals towards the cancer of the blood.
Mycosis fungoides affects men more than women. Anyone of any age can develop this condition. However, it is common after the age of 40 years up to 60 years. It is not contagious. The course of the disease is not predictable in any individual.
The Symptoms Of Mycosis Fungoides Are-
- Red rashes
- Intense itching
- Scaling of the skin.
It develops in four phases on the skin which may take years to show its manifestations.
First phase- it begins with the appearance of red itchy rash over the skin which is not exposed to the sunlight. It may end in months or years.
Second phase- in the second phase, these rashes turn into thin red patches.
Third phase- patches develop into hard plaques and small raised bumps in this phase of mycosis fungoides. They are also red and itchy.
Fourth phase- in this phase of mycosis fungoides, red plagues turn into ulcers or tumors like mushrooms. In this phase, the tumors may break and discharge fluid. The affected areas are painful and may catch infections.
These manifestations may be limited to a particular area of skin or may spread to the skin of the whole body. It has a slow and gradual course. It resembles eczema, psoriasis or an allergic reaction.
Diagnosis of Mycosis Fungoides
There is no reliable test to confirm the diagnosis. It may take years when you get the correct diagnosis. The skin biopsy can confirm the diagnosis in which samples of the affected skin are studied under the microscope. Several biopsies may be needed for this.
Treatment for Mycosis Fungoides
There is no cure for mycosis fungoides till today but it can be treated. Many scientists are working to find out a definite cure for this condition. Remission and relapse of this disease are quite common:
In the early stages, the treatment is started with the local application of creams, gels or lotions on the skin. These are made up of corticosteroids, vitamin A and chemotherapy medicines that can remove the rash from the skin and control cancer.
- Ultraviolet rays can be used to clear the skin.
- Radiation is given to control the rash.
- Chemotherapy can be effective to target cancer and control T-cell proliferation.
Mycosis fungoides is a rare skin cancer that manifests itself through localized red rashes, patches, plaques or tumors. It affects mostly the skin areas which are protected from the sun rays. It has many remissions and relapses. Till today, there is no known way to cure the condition.
- “Mycosis Fungoides and Sézary Syndrome” – National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/lymphoma/patient/mycosis-fungoides-treatment-pdq
“Mycosis Fungoides: An Updated Review” – Journal of Clinical Medicine [Provide DOI or Link if available]