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31

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Mycosis Fungoides, Version 1.2016

3

Overview of cancer treatments Extracorporeal photopheresis

Extracorporeal photopheresis

Extracorporeal photopheresis is a method of treating

your white blood cells with PUVA outside of your

body. A machine will remove some of your blood and

extract from the blood some of your white blood cells.

The rest of your blood will be returned to you. While in

the machine, your white blood cells will be mixed with

methoxypsoralen and exposed to UVA radiation. The

treated white blood cells will then be returned to your

body.

Extracorporeal photopheresis treats mycosis

fungoides throughout the body. How it works isn’t fully

known. It may trigger your immune system to attack

cancer cells.

Extracorporeal photopheresis is given 2 days in

a row every 2 to 4 weeks for up to 6 months. The

treatment process takes about 4 hours for each day

of treatment. Extracorporeal photopheresis may be

done with one or multiple machines depending on the

cancer center.

Side effects include short-term hypotension, fast

heart rate, and low numbers of red blood cells and

platelets. Many people have no problems with this

treatment. Drawbacks of this treatment may include

long-distance travel to a treatment center and the

amount of time needed to complete treatment.

Supportive care

Supportive care doesn’t aim to treat cancer

but aims to improve quality of life. It is

also called palliative care. It can address

many needs. One example is treatment

for physical and emotional symptoms.

Supportive care can also help with treatment

decisions as you may have more than one

option. It can also help with coordination

of care between health providers. Talk

with your treatment team to plan the best

supportive care for you.