Myelodysplastic Syndromes Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Age and past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy affect the risk of a myelodysplastic syndrome.
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get a disease; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get a disease. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors for myelodysplastic syndromes include the following:
- Past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer.
- Being exposed to certain chemicals, including tobacco smoke, pesticides, fertilizers, and solvents such as benzene.
- Being exposed to heavy metals, such as mercury or lead.
The cause of myelodysplastic syndromes in most patients is not known.
Signs and symptoms of a myelodysplastic syndrome include shortness of breath and feeling tired.
Myelodysplastic syndromes often do not cause early signs or symptoms. They may be found during a routine blood test. Signs and symptoms may be caused by myelodysplastic syndromes or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Shortness of breath.
Weakness or feeling tired.
- Having skin that is paler than usual.
- Easy bruising or bleeding.
- Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding).
Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect (find) and diagnose myelodysplastic syndromes.
The following tests and procedures may be used: