NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Mycosis Fungoides, Version 1.2016
Mycosis fungoides basics
Do I have mycosis fungoides?
The biopsy samples will be sent to a special type
of pathologist. A pathologist is a doctor who’s an
expert in testing cells to find disease. For mycosis
fungoides, the pathologist should be a specialist
in dermatopathology, hematopathology, or both.
Dermatopathologists spend all of their time looking
at skin samples, so they become very good with
diagnosing skin cancers. Hematopathologists can
also review the skin samples since they know blood
cancers very well.
The dermatopathologist will first examine the samples
using a microscope. He or she will study the cells’
shape and size and parts within the cells. A diagnosis
can sometimes be made with this information.
If mycosis fungoides is present, the
dermatopathologist will determine the subtype.
Subtypes include folliculotropic mycosis fungoides.
This lymphoma surrounds hair follicles. Another
subtype is large-cell transformed mycosis fungoides.
These cancer cells are at least 4 times larger than a
The results of these tests and those described next
will be recorded in a pathology report. It’s a good idea
to get a copy of your pathology report. It’s used to
Figure 1.4 Skin biopsy
Samples of skin lesions need to be tested to
diagnose mycosis fungoides. Testing of more than
one lesion is very helpful. A punch biopsy as shown
here and a shave biopsy are common methods of
removing skin samples.
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