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Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Myelodysplastic syndromes, a group of cancers of the blood and bone marrow, are expected to afflict about 11,000 individuals in the United States this year. The overall incidence rate is 4.3 per 100,000.
*Source: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Myelodysplastic Syndromes Screenings

Screening tests, like mammograms for breast cancer, are used to detect illness in a general population, including people who have no symptoms.

There are no screening tests for myelodysplastic syndromes. Some cases are discovered during blood tests; these tests are sometimes prescribed for people at elevated risk of MDS, like those who have undergone chemotherapy.

Myelodysplastic Syndromes Tests and Diagnosis

If you have any MDS symptoms, or MDS is suspected based on the results of a blood test, your WellStar physician will take a complete medical history and conduct a physical examination.

A complete blood count will be run on a sample of your blood. This reveals:

  • The quantities of red blood cells and platelets.
  • The quantities and types of white blood cells
  • The amount of hemoglobin (the iron-containing protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells
  • The proportion of red blood cells.

A peripheral blood smear may be performed. In this test, a sample of blood is examined to look for changes in the number, type, shape and size of blood cells and for too much iron in red blood cells.

In a cytogenetic analysis, a sample of blood or bone marrow is examined under a microscope to look for certain chromosomal changes that are associated with MDS.

A small piece of bone, blood, and marrow are extracted in in a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. This tissue is examined under a microscope by a pathologist for abnormal cells.

Myelodysplastic Syndromes Stages

While MDS is not staged in the same manner as other cancers, the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) provides a measure of the aggressiveness of MDS. IPSS uses three indicators to predict the course of the disease:

  • The percent of bone marrow blasts - more blasts contributes to a higher score
  • Genetic abnormalities - more abnormalities contribute to a higher score
  • Severity of low white blood cell counts - lower counts of white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells contribute to a higher score