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Overall, treatment for MDS is focused on destroying cancer cells and slowing disease progression. A stem cell transplant is considered the only way to cure MDS, but it may not work for everyone. Chemo- and radiation therapies may be used to help manage symptoms or in conjunction with stem cell transplant to clear the body of any cancer cells.
If MDS is found in later stages, treatment will focus on supportive care to ease symptoms. These steps will extend life and improve quality of life. These treatment may also slow the progression of certain MDS to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Supportive care generally includes blood transfusions and medications to boost blood cell counts into a normal range.
The healthcare team will be made up of a variety of health professionals including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for best outcomes possible.
MDS treatment may include:
Research studies help to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. If current treatment is not effective for your type of cancer you may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.
Myelodysplastic syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114054/Myelodysplastic-syndrome-MDS. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed June 21, 2016.
Myelodysplastic syndrome. Merck Manual Professional Version website Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/myelodysplastic-syndrome. Updated October 2014. Accessed June 24, 2016.
Myelodysplastic syndromes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003122-pdf.pdf. Accessed June 24, 2016.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/myelodysplastic-treatment-pdq#section/_49. Updated August 12, 2015. Accessed June 24, 2016.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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