Myelodysplastic syndrome

What is Myelodysplastic Syndrome?

Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) is a rare kind of cancer that affects the bone marrow and the blood. It stops the body from making enough healthy, mature red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. If left untreated, it can lead to a higher risk of infection and bleeding. In rare cases, it can turn into a more serious type of cancer, acute myeloid leukemia.

Types of Myelodysplastic Syndrome

There are various types of MDS, including Refractory Anemia, Refractory Anemia with Ringed Sideroblasts, Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia, and Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Neoplasm. Each type is distinguished by its causes and characteristics.

Causes & Risk Factors

The exact cause of MDS is unknown, but it can develop from prior radiation, chemotherapy or certain medications, including those used to treat cancer. Additionally, there is an increased risk of developing MDS amongst individuals who are exposed to certain chemicals, such as benzene, or if they have Down syndrome.

Symptoms & Treatment

Signs and symptoms associated with MDS may vary depending on the type, but often include fatigue, shortness of breath, frequent infections, excessive bruising and bleeding easily, joint pain, and paleness. Treatment for MDS depends on the severity and type, and may include transfusions, medications, stem cell transplants, and chemotherapy.

Why Do I Need to Know About Myelodysplastic Syndrome?‚Äč

A diagnosis of MDS is understandably concerning. It's important to learn about the condition and its available treatments so you can make the best decisions for your health. It's also important to remember that while MDS can have a significant impact on quality of life, it is treatable and can be managed with the help of your healthcare team.