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Health Library : Cancer Center

 

Cancer Types - Overview of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

What is Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)?

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a group of similar blood disorders involving one or more of the blood cells - usually the white blood cells.

What are the symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndrome?

The following are the most common symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndrome. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • increased susceptibility to infections and fevers
  • anemia
  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • fever
  • chills
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of weight
  • swollen or tender lymph nodes, liver, or spleen
  • petechiae - tiny red dots under the skin that are the result of very small bleeds.
  • swollen or bleeding gums
  • bone or joint pain

How is Myelodysplastic Syndrome diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for leukemia may include the following:

  • bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy - a procedure that involves taking a small amount of bone marrow fluid (aspiration) and/or solid bone marrow tissue (called a core biopsy), usually from the hip bones, to be examined for the number, size, and maturity of blood cells and/or abnormal cells.
  • complete blood count (CBC) - a measurement of size, number, and maturity of different blood cells in a specific volume of blood.
  • additional blood tests (may include blood chemistries, evaluation of liver and kidney functions, and genetic studies)
  • computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • x-ray - a diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • ultrasound (Also called sonography.) - a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.

Treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome:

Specific treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • chemotherapy or targeted therapy medications
  • radiation therapy
  • bone marrow transplantation
  • biological therapy - using the body's immune system to improve cell counts.
  • blood transfusion (red blood cells, platelets)
  • medications (to prevent or treat damage to other systems of the body caused by Myelodysplastic Syndrome treatment)

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Online Resources of Cancer Center


 Sources & References


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