What is Myelodysplastic Syndrome?

August 31, 2012 Good Morning America reported that another tradegy has hit the family of Robert Robbins. Her mother passed away as she herself deals with her recent diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Recently, Robin Roberts announced to viewers that she has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease once known as preleukemia. Roberts, who beat breast cancer five years ago, will undergo chemotherapy and then receive a bone marrow transplant from her sister.

Many of you might be wondering what exactly is MDS .

Here’s what you need to know about the condition:

  • What is myelodysplastic syndrome?

According to the National Cancer Institute, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is the name of a group of conditions that occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow are damaged. This damage leads to low numbers of one or more types of blood cells.

  • What causes it?

The disease is caused by poorly formed or dysfunctional blood cells.Over the past few years, scientists have made great progress in understanding how certain changes in DNA of bone marrow cells may cause MDS to develop. Exposure to radiation or certain chemicals can cause mutations that lead to MDS. Sometimes these gene changes occur for no apparent reason.

  • How is it treated?

Treatment for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes range from supportive care treatments that focus on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life to aggressive treatments designed to slow or prevent the disease from progressing. Below the National Cancer Institute have listed various treatments, such as ;

  1. Chemotherapy
  2. Growth factors
  3. Supportive therapy
  4. Stem cell transplant
  5. Clinical trials
  6. Complementary and alternative therapies
  7. General approach to treatment of MDS
  8. More treatment information
  • How common is it?

Myelodysplastic syndromes are diagnosed in slightly more than 10,000 people in the U.S. each year.

For more information please click here.
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