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Learn About Other Blood Cancers
(Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Disorders)
Written by NCI/PDQ®

Source: Cancer Resource Room

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What are myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases
Myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases (MDS/MPD) are diseases of the bone marrow that have shared characteristics of both myeloproliferative disorders and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Myeloproliferative disorders are diseases in which too many of certain types of blood cells are made in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside the large bones in the body. The bone marrow makes red blood cells (which carry oxygen to all the tissues in the body), white blood cells (which fight infection), and platelets (which make the blood clot). (Refer to the PDQ summary on Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders Treatment for more information.)

Myelodysplastic syndromes, also called preleukemia or “smoldering” leukemia, are diseases in which the bone marrow does not function normally and not enough normal blood cells are made. Normally, bone marrow cells called blasts develop (mature) into several different types of blood cells that have specific jobs in the body. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Myelodysplastic Syndromes Treatment for more information.)

MDS/MPD are divided into the following 4 catagories:

  • Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia:
    Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia is a disease in which too many myelomonocytes (a type of white blood cell that has properties of both a monocyte and a granulocyte) are in the bone marrow, crowding out other normal blood cells, such as red blood cells and platelets.
  • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia:
    Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia is a disease in which too many myelomonocytes are in the bone marrow, crowding out other normal blood cells. This form of leukemia is very rare, has unique features that separate it from chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, and usually occurs only in very young children. Children diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 1 are at an increased risk for developing juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.
  • Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia:
    Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia is a disease in which too many immature bone marrow cells develop into a type of white blood cell called granulocytes. Some of these bone marrow cells never become mature white blood cells. These are called blasts. Over time, the granulocytes and blasts crowd out the red blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow.
  • Myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disease, unclassifiable (MDS/MPD-U):
    MDS/MPD-U are diseases of the bone marrow or blood cells that have similar features or presentations of myelodysplastic syndromes or myeloproliferative disorders but do not meet the criteria of the major types of MDS/MPD.

Symptoms & Diagnosis
If there are symptoms, a doctor will order blood tests to count the numbers of each of the different types of cells in the blood. If the results of the tests are not normal, more blood tests may be done. The doctor may also do a bone marrow biopsy. During this test, a needle is inserted into a bone to take out some of the marrow. The marrow is then looked at under a microscope. The doctor can then tell what kind of disease the patient has and plan the best treatment.

Stages of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases
There is no staging for these diseases. Treatment depends on the type of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative disease the patient has.

To read more about Other Blood Cancers >>>

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