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29

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Mycosis Fungoides, Version 1.2016

3

Overview of cancer treatments Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy consists of high-energy rays that

damage DNA. This either kills the cancer cells or

stops new cancer cells from being made. Radiation

can also harm normal cells. As a result, treatment

methods are always being improved to target the

tumor more precisely.

Radiation may be used to treat skin lesions of

mycosis fungoides. Either x-ray (photon) or electron

forms of radiation may be used. X-rays work very

well but may cause severe side effects. Most often,

electron beam therapy is used to treat skin lesions.

Electrons do not travel far and are less likely to harm

the tissue beneath the skin. Local electron beam

therapy can be used to treat up to a few lesions. Total

skin electron beam therapy (TSEBT, for short) can

treat widespread lesions.

Local electron beam therapy

For local electron beam therapy, a simulation session

to plan treatment is needed. During simulation,

pictures of the lesions will be taken after your body is

moved into the position needed for treatment. Your

skin will also be marked with a felt marker. Using

the pictures, your treatment team will plan the best

radiation dose and best way to target the lesions.

During treatment, you will lie on a table in the same

position as done for simulation. You will be wearing

a hospital gown. Devices may be used to keep you

from moving. These may include a mesh mask and

body mold.

You will be alone while the therapists operate the

machine from the nearby control room. The therapists

will be able to see, hear, and speak with you. As

treatment is given, you may hear noises.

Local electron beam therapy is completed in one to

three weeks. Treatment is given a few times each

week. Receiving the radiation takes just minutes but

your entire visit may be over an hour.

Total skin electron beam therapy

A simulation session is not needed for total skin

electron beam therapy. During treatment, you will be

standing. You will stand on a platform that moves or

you will have to change positions during treatment.

Skin areas that might be blocked from receiving

enough radiation may be treated again. Such sites

include your scalp, soles, groin area, and between

skin folds. Skin folds may be spread apart with

styrofoam. On some treatment days, sensitive areas

may be shielded from radiation.

You will be alone while the therapists operate the

machine from the nearby control room. The therapists

will be able to see, hear, and speak with you. As

treatment is given, you may hear noises.

Total skin electron beam therapy is completed in

about 10 weeks. Treatment is often given twice a

week. Receiving the radiation takes just minutes but

your entire visit may be over an hour.

Side effects of radiation

Electron beam therapy will likely affect your skin. How