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Mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are two closely related conditions, classed together as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).
CTCL is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) which is a malignant condition (cancer) in which the lymphoma cells are mainly found in the skin.
Mycosis fungoides (MF) is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which abnormal cells are mainly found in the skin. It is a form of cancer affecting a type of white blood cells called T lymphocytes.
Sézary syndrome (SS) is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which abnormal T cells are found in the skin and also in the blood.
Most cases are found in people over 20 years of age, and can be more commonly found in men than women.
It is not known whether Sézary syndrome is an advanced form of mycosis fungoides or a separate disease. They both affect the skin and both affect the same type of white blood cell, so they are discussed together here. You should ask your doctor to make it clear to you what type of disease you have and what phase or stage disease.
The causes of mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are not known. It is important to understand that:
Skin all over the body is red, itchy and painful with widespread peeling – like severe sunburn. There are also lymphoma cells in the blood.
The most important test to diagnose Mycosis Fungoides is a skin biopsy, which is a small sample taken for examination under the microscope. Often there are typical abnormalities which make it possible to identify Mycosis Fungoides but sometimes it may be more difficult to make the diagnosis. A lymph node sample may be taken to see whether there are lymphoma cells present.
We understand going through a blood cancer through journey can be difficult. It may help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you are feeling. Here are some questions that may be useful to ask your doctor.