About 300 people with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) are evaluated in Center each year, making our program one of the most active in the nation. This translates into an impressive level of expertise and experience that can make a real difference in your treatment.
A team of some of the world's most renowned experts works together to give you personalized care, communicating closely with you and each other at every step. Your care team draws from a full range of the latest, most-advanced treatments for myelodysplastic syndrome. Since long-term follow up care often is needed, we maintain a close relationship with your referring physician.
And you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.
Over the past few years, the care of patients with MDS and the understanding of this disease have improved significantly. This has resulted in the development of new therapies, many of which were studied extensively, including decitabine (Dacogen®) and azacitidine (Vidaza®), which now are considered standard of care. Our researchers also have been instrumental in finding out how the disease begins on a molecular basis and how to determine potential outlooks.
At Leukemia Center, you benefit from one of the most active research programs in the United States. This means we are able to offer a range of clinical trials (research studies) of new treatments for myelodysplastic syndrome.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) often does not have symptoms in the early stages. If there are signs, they may be vague or like those for other medical problems. When myelodysplastic syndrome does have symptoms, they vary from person to person.
If you have myelodysplastic syndrome, your symptoms may include:
These symptoms do not always mean you have MDS. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may signal other health problems.
Accurate diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome is essential, but it can be challenging. Our experts see a larger number of patients with this rare disease, and they are among the most skilled in its diagnosis. They use the most advanced technologies and techniques.
If you have symptoms that may signal myelodysplastic syndrome, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health, your lifestyle, including smoking, and your family medical history.
One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have myelodysplastic syndrome. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.
As one of the world's largest leukemia programs, we see more people with myelodysplastic syndrome than most oncologists or cancer centers. This level of experience and expertise can make a difference in the success of your treatment.
Approximately 300 patients with myelodysplastic syndrome are evaluated in our center each year by a group of physicians completely dedicated to the care of these patients. Personalized treatment is provided in close collaboration with referring physicians, a key aspect of the extensive, long-term follow-up care that often is necessary during the course of myelodysplastic syndrome.
We offer the most-advanced treatments for myelodysplastic syndromes, including numerous clinical trials of innovative treatments, many of which are not found elsewhere. Through our groundbreaking research, we have pioneered many new therapies for MDS, and we are constantly working toward new and better ways to help patients with this disease.
Lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients are treated initially for the specific complications of the disease, such as anemia and low blood counts. If more aggressive therapy is needed, strategies that are considered standard of care include chemotherapy using hypomethylating agents (5-azacitidine and decitabine) and lenalidomide.
Higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients usually need more aggressive therapy, but much depends on the age and condition of the patient. Younger patients with high-risk disease are considered for front-line chemotherapy approaches followed perhaps by allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
For older patients, intensive chemotherapy is rarely considered. Instead, our strategy focuses on development of active and safe treatments for newly diagnosed patients as well as those for whom the standard of care based therapies has not been effective.
Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you're healthy and don't have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for curing it are best. Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve myelodysplastic syndrome outcomes.
Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is a risk factor. Most cases of myelodysplastic syndrome have no known cause, but some factors have been found to increase the risk.
Risk factors for myelodysplastic syndrome include:
Not everyone with risk factors gets MDS. However, if you have risk factors, it's a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider.