NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Myelodysplastic Syndromes

13 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Myelodysplastic Syndromes, 2018 1 Myelodysplastic syndromes Review † † Anemia is a very common condition that occurs because you have a low number of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. A low number of red blood cells can cause symptoms such as extreme tiredness (fatigue), dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, and pale skin. † † Neutropenia happens when you have a low number of healthy white blood cells. White blood cells help the body fight germs and infections. Thus, neutropenia can lead to frequent or severe infections. † † Thrombocytopenia happens when you have a low number of healthy platelets. Platelets help control bleeding and help wounds heal. A low number of platelets can cause symptoms such as easy bruising and bleeding. Doctors will assess your health and learn about your symptoms. Keep in mind, symptoms of MDS can happen with other medical conditions. MDS is often a slow-growing cancer and some people with MDS have no early symptoms of disease. It is important to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your visit and call if you have any symptoms. Review † † Blood cells are made in the soft tissue in the center of most bones called bone marrow. † † A blood stem cell is a cell from which all other types of blood cells are made. † † MDS is a group of cancers that affect blood cells in the bone marrow and bloodstream. † † In MDS, the bone marrow makes abnormal blood cells and doesn’t make enough healthy, mature blood cells for the body. † † MDS is divided into smaller groups based on the features of the bone marrow and blood cells. These smaller groups are called subtypes. “ When I was originally diagnosed with MDS, I was angry and hurt. I wondering “why me?”, and “what have I done to deserve this?” Once those feelings subsided, I was scared of the unknowns and worried about treatments and being sick. I spent countless hours researching and praying. I am grateful for having a wonderful team of doctors and a very supportive family. - Shaunna

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