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Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome Treatment

General Information About Mycosis Fungoides and the Sézary Syndrome

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are diseases in which lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) become malignant (cancerous) and affect the skin.

Normally, the bone marrow makes blood stem cells (immature cells) that develop into mature blood stem cells over time. A blood stem cell may become a myeloid stem cell or a lymphoid stem cell. The myeloid stem cell develops into a red blood cell, white blood cell, or platelet. The lymphoid stem cell develops into a lymphoblast and then into one of three types of lymphocytes (white blood cells):


Blood cell development. A blood stem cell goes through several steps to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell.
Blood cell development. A blood stem cell goes through several steps to become a red blood cell, platelet, or white blood cell.

In mycosis fungoides, T-cell lymphocytes become cancerous and affect the skin. In the Sézary syndrome, cancerous T-cell lymphocytes affect the skin and are in the blood.

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are the two most common types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma). For information about other types of skin cancer or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, see the following PDQ summaries:

A possible sign of mycosis fungoides is a red rash on the skin.

Mycosis fungoides may go through the following phases:

In the Sézary syndrome, cancerous T-cells are found in the blood.

Also, skin all over the body is reddened, itchy, peeling, and painful. There may also be patches, plaques, or tumors on the skin. It is not known if the Sézary syndrome is an advanced form of mycosis fungoides or a separate disease.

Tests that examine the skin and blood are used to detect (find) and diagnose mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

Mycosis fungoides and the Sézary syndrome are difficult to cure. Treatment is usually palliative, to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life. Patients can live many years with this disease.