Myelodysplasia affects the cells in your bone marrow responsible for producing blood cells and significantly increases your chances of developing acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The experienced team at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, provides expert diagnosis and treatment for patients affected by myelodysplasia at their three locations in Houston and another in Katy, Texas. Find out how they can help you with myelodysplasia by calling the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, or booking an appointment online today.
Myelodysplasia (also known as myelodysplastic syndromes or MDS) is a group of conditions that involve abnormalities of the blood-forming cells in your bone marrow. If you have myelodysplasia, it means you have fewer blood cells than you need to be healthy.
Bone marrow is a substance found inside some of your bones that consists of fat cells, blood-forming cells, and supporting tissues. Some of the blood-forming cells are stem cells, which you need for the production of new blood cells.
Myelodysplasia can affect any of the cells in your bone marrow, but the most common problem is anemia from a lack of red blood cells. Out of every three patients with myelodysplasia, one is likely to develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive bone marrow cancer.
Myelodysplasia develops because of changes that take place in specific genes. Oncogenes help your cells grow and divide, while tumor suppressor genes regulate cell division and trigger cell death at the appropriate time.
Cancer develops when gene mutations turn on the oncogenes or turn off the tumor suppressor genes. With myelodysplasia, there are usually mutations in several different kinds of genes. Some of these you may inherit from your parents, while others occur during your lifetime.
Known risk factors for myelodysplasia include:
Myelodysplasia is more common in men than women and rarely affects people under 50. Most cases occur in people aged 70-80.
The treatment that the team at the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, recommends depends on what type of myelodysplasia you have, how severe your condition is, and factors like your age and other health problems. Healthy living and preventing infections are important in patients with myelodysplasia.
If you're not experiencing symptoms and your blood cell count isn't too low, you may not require treatment immediately. Instead, you attend regular checkups to monitor the progress of your myelodysplasia.
Stem cell transplants are a potential cure for myelodysplasia and could be a good choice for younger patients if there’s a suitable donor. However, as most patients with myelodysplasia are older and likely to be less healthy, stem cell transplants may not be an option.
Blood transfusions or transfusions of blood cell growth factors may be useful, and some patients can benefit from taking the chemotherapy drugs azacitidine or decitabine. Lenalidomide and immunosuppressants like cyclosporine may also help manage your symptoms.
For expert help with myelodysplasia, call the Houston Cancer Institute, PA, or book an appointment online today.