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.
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Myelodysplastic syndrome. Merck Manual Professional Version website Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/myelodysplastic-syndrome. Updated January 2017. Accessed June 30, 2017.
Treating myelodysplastic syndromes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/myelodysplastic-syndrome/treating.html. Accessed June 30, 2017.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/myelodysplastic-treatment-pdq#section/_49. Updated August 12, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2017.
Last reviewed June 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 6/24/2016