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Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)

The myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS for short, are a group of conditions where the bone marrow doesn’t work properly and produces faulty blood cells. MDS is a type of cancer.

Emma, 32, was diagnosed with a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), in 2011. She has had four rounds of treatment, including two stem cell transplants and chemotherapy, but is currently in remission.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) at a glance

The myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS for short, are a group of conditions where the bone marrow doesn’t work properly and produces faulty blood cells. MDS is a type of cancer.

Find out more about MDS and its causes

The main symptom of MDS is anaemia. Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on which blood cells have become reduced in your bloodstream.

There are two main tests used to diagnose MDS – a full blood count and a bone marrow biopsy.

Find out more about the various symptoms and diagnosis of MDS

After you’ve been diagnosed with MDS, you may want to know more about your prognosis − what's likely to happen in the future.

MDS can sometimes be cured with a stem cell transplant, or very rarely with intensive chemotherapy. However, usually MDS cannot be cured, but it can be controlled and often improved with treatment.

Your prognosis can depend on many factors, including the type of MDS you have, and other factors like your general health.

Find out more about the prognosis for MDS

Your treatment will be planned by a group of experts using national guidelines. The type of MDS you have will affect which treatments may be best for you.

Find out more about treatment and side effects for MDS

The emotional impact of MDS can be just as significant as the physical impact.

Each person with MDS will cope in their own way. Your healthcare team are experienced in supporting people through their emotions. Talk to them about how you’re feeling.

Find out more about the emotional and psychological impact of MDS

There are a number of UK centres with a specialist interest in treating patients with MDS, some of which are recognised as Centres of Excellence.

See all MDS specialist centres in the UK

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