Although its name implies otherwise, mycosis fungoides is not a disease caused by a fungal infection. It is a disease that manifests itself on the skin with a formation of plaques or small tumors that are caused by an accumulation of cells that contribute to the body’s defenses.
Although the disease is caused by defense cells of our own immune system, it is a disease with malignant characteristics, so it is important to identify it in time to take the necessary measures to treat it. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will talk about mycosis fungoides: causes, treatment and prognosis so that you know all the measures you should take in case you run into this disease.
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Causes of mycosis fungoides
Mycosis fungoides is caused by the overgrowth of defense cells called T lymphocytes in the skin . These cells generally work together with other cells in the body, protecting us from microorganisms that potentially cause disease, but due to an error in their proliferation process, they accumulate in the dermis and epidermis of the skin and create the lesions that characterize it. disease.
It is not known for sure what causes this disease, but many experts consider it to be hereditary . Mycosis fungoides is part of a family of diseases called lymphomas , within which it is the most common of all.
Mycosis fungoides: first symptoms
Mycosis fungoides is a slowly progressive disease with few symptoms , characterized by having different stages in its development:
- In the first stage, the wounds show a form of flat plates which produce itching, and which appear mainly on the torso and upper and lower limbs in areas not necessarily exposed to sunlight.
- The wounds are then infiltrated by T lymphocytes, creating a series of ring-shaped wounds on the skin , with a pink center.
- Then, in the last stage of the disease, the main characteristic is the formation of small tumors on the skin that acquire the shape of fungi, bright red in color and with the possibility of ulceration.
Depending on its severity, mycosis fungoides can be categorized into one of five different stages of severity, where the first level represents a minimal invasion of the skin, and at the fifth level there is involvement of the viscera, blood, skin and lymph nodes. The most serious stages can greatly reduce the life expectancy of those affected.
Treatment of mycosis fungoides
The diagnosis of mycosis fungoides is made by examining the skin wounds, assessing their size and quantity. Blood tests should be done by means of a hemogram to determine an alteration of the lymphocytes, and it may even be necessary to take a biopsy for the microscope study of skin wounds.
Once mycosis fungoides is diagnosed, it is necessary to apply a treatment to slow the progression of the disease. For this condition there is no single treatment, but different techniques must be combined depending on the severity of the condition in order to improve life expectancy.
Treatments are usually divided into two categories, those for skin application and those for systemic use . While systemic treatments have to do with oral medications and injections, skin therapies are aimed at directly treating skin wounds and consists of the implementation of ultraviolet light, radiotherapy, topical chemotherapy and drugs that modulate the immune response, such as corticosteroids and bexarotene.
Mycosis fungoides: life prognosis
Mycosis fungoides is a disease that is characterized by being of slow progression and with few symptoms during its evolution, developing during 2 to 10 years . However, it is a malignant condition that can significantly decrease the life expectancy of the affected person:
- In cases where mycosis fungoides are considered low risk, the life expectancy of the patient is above 12 years.
- In intermediate-risk patients, the expectation is greater than 5 years.
- While in patients with a worse prognosis, survival is usually less than 3 years . However, these prognoses depend on the stage of the disease, the worst cases being those with visceral, blood and lymph node involvement.
In some rarer cases , Sézary syndrome may develop , which consists of the appearance of reddish plaques, lymphadenopathy, and neoplastic cell formation. Patients who develop this syndrome have a worse prognosis, significantly reducing life expectancy.
When treatments are timely and carried out in the less advanced stages of the disease, the progression of mycosis fungoides can be stopped, entering a stage called remission when the clinical manifestations of the disease disappear and the tests are negative. or stable disease state when mycosis fungoides stops progressing but is still present.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.