Everything You Need to Know About Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndrome is a type of rare cancer related to blood and bone marrow. It occurs when the blood cells in the human body start dysfunctioning or stop functioning entirely. In Flemington myelodysplastic syndrome can be treated by professionals at Hunterdon hematology-oncology.

What is Myelodysplastic Syndrome?

Myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS is among cancers in which the blood cells in the bone marrow mature and thus do not become healthy cells. It is a rare type of cancer. About 7 per 100,000 people acquire this disease.

In a healthy person, the red blood cells carry oxygen in the body, the WBCs fight infection, and platelets help your blood clot. But in a person with MDS, the bone marrow stops producing these blood cells and instead makes abnormal blood cells.


A person in the early stages of MDS may not experience any symptoms. In later stages, the symptoms vary depending on which type of blood cell is damaged.

Deficiency in red blood cells may cause the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheaded
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pale skin

The deficiency of white blood cells may cause frequent infections in the body or quickly get infected.

Deficiency of platelets may cause:

  • Easily getting bruised.
  • Bleeding more than usual.
  • Small purple and red dots on your skin.
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums.
  • Unusually heavy menstrual period.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Vomit with blood in it.

Risk factors:

The exact reason why people develop MDS is not known. However, some people are at a higher risk than others.

  1. Past chemotherapy or radiation. Studies show that people who have had chemotherapy or radiation are prone to MDS.
  1. Old age. Most people with MDS are above the age of 60.
  1. Exposure to toxic chemicals. Pesticides, tobacco smoke, and benzene are linked with MDS.
  1. Genetic syndromes. People with genetic syndromes are more likely to acquire MDS, for example, Fanconi anemia, Diamond Blackfan anemia, severe congenital neutropenia, etc.


MDS is a complicated disease whose exact cause is not known to us. Therefore, there is no sure way of preventing this disease, nor can we say that making some lifestyle changes will permanently prevent it. Nevertheless, you can follow a few steps to lower your risks.

  1. Quit smoking. It is basic knowledge that smoking increases the chances of getting cancer.
  1. Avoid radiation. Ask your doctors if it’s possible to treat your disease without chemotherapy and radiation because they can result in various kinds of cancer, including MDS.
  1. Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals. Benzene is a harmful chemical found in gasoline, exhaust from a car, glue, paint, and cleaning products. It is essential to be careful around them.

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