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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Mycosis Fungoides, Version 1.2016


Mycosis fungoides basics

Do I have mycosis fungoides?

Pathology review

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

small lymphocyte.

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

plan treatment.

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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