Mycosis Fungoides (MF)

Mycosis Fungoides (MF)

Mycosis Fungoides (MF) is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s a rare form of cancer that affects the white blood cells. In this disease, a type of white blood cell called T-cell grows and multiplies abnormally. It causes patches of abnormal, scaly skin, mostly in the areas of the upper chest, arms, and legs. There is no known cause of Mycosis Fungoides, however certain genetic factors may increase the risk. Other factors, such as viruses and environmental conditions, may also play a role.

MF is a slow-growing cancer, but if left untreated, it can become more aggressive and spread to other parts of the body. Treatment options include topical medications, phototherapy, and systemic medications.

Symptoms of Mycosis Fungoides

The most common symptom of MF is patches of scaly, red or brown skin. The patches may be itchy and sometimes painful. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groin or other areas
  • Thickened reddish patches of skin that do not respond to topical treatments
  • Large, raised patches of brownish-red skin
  • Enlarged red or brown patches on the torso
  • Thickened patches of skin that are raised and scaly
  • Organ enlargement


If your doctor suspects you have MF, he or she will perform several tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include a skin biopsy, blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. In some cases, a lymph node biopsy or bone marrow biopsy may be required. This will help your doctor determine the stage of the disease and develop a treatment plan.


Treatment for MF depends on the stage of the disease and the severity of the symptoms. Treatment options include:

  • Topical medications – topical creams and ointments are used to slow the growth of abnormal cells.
  • Phototherapy – exposure to ultraviolet light through a device or lamp is used to slow the growth of abnormal cells.
  • Systemic medications – oral medications or injections can be used to slow the growth of abnormal cells.
  • Radiation therapy – this therapy partially destroys abnormal cells in stages one and two.
  • Surgery – Surgery may be necessary to remove some large lesions and nodes.

The treatment plan may also include lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress. Your doctor can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes.