Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Myelodysplastic Syndrome Overview

What is myelodysplastic syndrome?
Myelodysplastic syndrome is a term used to describe a group of closely-related diseases that affect the bone marrow. All of these diseases affect how blood cells are produced by the bone marrow. Myelodysplastic syndrome causes a decrease in the production of all blood cells in the bone marrow. It is considered to be a pre-cancerous condition because most people with myelodysplastic syndrome develop acute myeloid leukemia. Manifestations of myelodysplastic syndrome include anemia, repeated bacterial infections, and easy bleeding due to a coagulopathy.

What are the symptoms of myelodysplastic syndrome?
Common symptoms of myelodysplastic syndrome include bone pain, abdominal pain, easy bleeding, fatigue, pale skin, weakness or fatigue, and lymph gland swelling. Myelodysplastic syndrome also causes symptoms of coagulopathy and symptoms of anemia.

How does the doctor treat myelodysplastic syndrome?
Treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome depends on the underlying cell type. Treatment may include the administration of growth factors, which encourage red blood cell and white blood cell production. Growth factors include neupogen, sargramostim, and erythropoietin. Additional treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pain medications, and bone marrow transplant.

Continue to Myelodysplastic Syndrome Symptoms

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Myelodysplastic Syndrome References
  1. Atallah E, Garcia-Manero G. Treatment strategies in myelodysplastic syndromes. Cancer Invest. 2008 Mar;26(2):208-16. Review. [18259954]
  2. Garcia-Manero G, Yang AS, Jagasia M. Evaluating new treatment options for MDS. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2007 Nov;5(11):1-9; quiz 10-2. Review. [18185491]
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