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Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) treatment side effects

We're here for you if you want to talk

0808 2080 888

[email protected]

The treatment you have for MDS may cause unwanted side effects. But there are treatments and things you can do to help.

Side effects

When they first talk to you about treatment options, and at any time during your treatment, your hospital team can tell you what side effects you might get. Some side effects are more common than others, but everyone reacts differently, even if they are having the same treatment.

Speak to your hospital team about any side effects you get, as there are treatments and self-help tips that can make a big difference. Your doctor may also be able to adjust your treatment to reduce side effects.

Side effects of MDS treatments can include:

You’re unlikely to get all these side effects, but you might get some. You might even find you get no side effects. Everyone is different.

Finding out more about side effects

Ask your hospital team if you want detailed information about any of the treatments they recommend. They can tell you any side effects to look out for and what to do if you have them.

All medicines should come with a printed information leaflet that lists the possible side effects. Your doctor or nurse can give you this leaflet. You can also find these leaflets online on the EMC (Electronic Medicines Compendium) website.

It can be alarming to read a long list of side effects. But drug manufacturers have to include every side effect that’s been reported to them, and that’s why the list is so long. Some of the side effects listed will be very rare.

Talk to your hospital team or our Support Service if you are worried about side effects.

“I found it really helpful to talk to other people who’d had their own experience of cancer. Because if you’re feeling rubbish, just to be able to talk to somebody who understands is amazing.”

Peter, diagnosed with MDS in 2018

Read Peter's experience of working with side effects.

Photo of Peter, smiling and wearing a blazer standing in front of his book shelf.

Coping with side effects

Don’t feel you have to cope with side effects alone. Tell your hospital team about any side effects you have or are worried about, as there are often medicines or treatments they can prescribe to reduce side effects.

You might also find it helpful to read our information about common side effects of blood cancer treatment. It includes tips on things that can help.

You may also want to talk to other people with blood cancer about side effects and share experiences and tips. You can do this on our online community forum.

Woman lying on sofa looking tired.

Find out more about side effects

Tips and real stories about side effects like hair loss, peripheral neuropathy, brain fog, sleep problems, infection risk, nausea and sore mouth.

Side effects