A sign of mycosis fungoides is a red rash on the skin.
Mycosis fungoides may go through the following phases:
: A scaly, red rash in areas of the body that usually are not exposed to the sun. This rash does not cause symptoms
and may last for months or years. It is hard to diagnose
the rash as mycosis fungoides during this phase.
phase: Tumors form on the skin. These tumors may develop ulcers
and the skin may get infected.
Check with your doctor if you have any of these signs.
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:
and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps, the number and type of skin lesions, or anything else that seems unusual. Pictures of the skin and a history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
The portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells.
Peripheral blood smear: A procedure in which a sample of blood is viewed under a microscope
to count different circulating blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, etc.) and see whether the cells look normal.
Skin biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues
so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer. The doctor may remove a growth from the skin, which will be examined by a pathologist. More than one skin biopsy may be needed to diagnose mycosis fungoides.
Immunophenotyping: A process used to identify cells, based on the types of antigens
on the surface of the cell. This process may include special staining of the blood cells. It is used to diagnose specific types of leukemia
and lymphoma by comparing the cancer cells to normal cells of the immune system.
rearrangement test: A laboratory test
in which cells in a sample of tissue are checked to see if there is a certain change in the genes. This gene change can lead to too many of one kind of T-cells (white blood cells that fight infection) to be made.
Flow cytometry: A laboratory test that measures the number of cells in a sample of blood, the percentage of live cells in a sample, and certain characteristics of cells, such as size, shape, and the presence of tumor markers
on the cell surface. The cells are stained with a light-sensitive dye, placed in a fluid, and passed in a stream before a laser
or other type of light. The measurements are based on how the light-sensitive dye reacts to the light.
Certain factors affect prognosis (chance
of recovery) and treatment options.