Risk factors and Types of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

Myelodysplastic Syndrome is a cancer that affects the normal functioning of bone marrow. The bone marrow stops producing enough red cells, or they make the defective blood cells. The body naturally kills the lousy blood cells.

It is also called bone marrow failure disorder. Generally, people above 65 years get the disease, but it can happen to young people in rare cases.

The body consists of bones that support the body. Inside the bones, there are spongy substances called bone marrows. It produces different cell forms in the correct quantity and with the right shape and function.

The bone marrow makes the following cells:

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Platelets

When the bone marrow stops properly producing these cells, there are chances that people may have myelodysplastic Syndrome.

Risk factors of Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Several factors lead to the disease. Though people can control some causes like smoking, they cannot prevent all the causes.

Genetic Syndrome

Genetic Syndrome happens when the gene mutates from one of the parents. There are several causes of gene mutation. Some are:

  • Diamond black fan anemia
  • Fanconi anemia
  • Severe congenital neutropenia
  • Dyskeratosis congenita


Smoking increases the chance of lung cancer. But the tobaccos have a cancer substance, and the bloodstream can easily absorb it.

When the bloodstream absorbs the substance, it can spread to other body parts.

Age and sex

People above the age group of 70 are more prone to this disease. Also, it is more common in men because men are more exposed to chemicals in the workplace than women.

Environmental exposures

  • People who have been exposed to radiation explosions, like in the case of the atomic bomb blast, are more prone to the MDS.
  • People have worked in the chemical and rubber industries for a long time.


The MDS may cause the following symptoms:

  • As the white blood cells decrease, people are more prone to frequent infections.
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • The reduction in red blood cells that leads to paleness
  • Low platelet count leads to easy bruising.
  • Red spots under the skin
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Bone pain

Types of MDS

  • MDS with single-lineage dysplasia – Three cell types – White blood, red blood, and platelets. One of the cells appears low in number, and their growth becomes abnormal, which can be seen under a microscope.
  • MDS with multiple dysplasias – Under this condition, two or three cells have decreased growth with the cells’ abnormal shape and functionality.
  • MDS with ring sideroblasts – Many red blood cells start appearing to be ring sideroblasts. The MDS is diagnosed when at least 15% of the red blood cells develop in the ring sideroblasts.
  • MDS with an excess blast – The red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets counts may become low in number and abnormal, but in this case, immature blood cells progress in bone and bone marrow.
  • MDS with isolated del (5q) chromosomes abnormality – This condition arises when a gene mutation occurs and red blood cells decrease.
  • Unclassifiable MDS – Under the classifiable MDS, the blood cells appear normal. The cells may undergo mutations associated with the MDS.


The treatment plan depends upon the severity of the problem. In mild cases, people may need low-intensity treatment. However, if the problem has reached a severe level, one may need a more rigorous line of therapy and regular check-ups by healthcare professionals.

  • Blood transfusions are common treatments that help people recover from a low blood count.
  • Hormones Therapy – When the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells, several hormones are usually administered to cause the bone marrow function.
  • Immunosuppressive Therapy – Sometimes, the immune system attacks the body leading to the rise of several diseases. Under this therapy, the medications stop the immune system from slamming bone marrow and allowing it to function correctly.
  • Chemotherapy Drugs – It is the most common line of treatment in cancers. Many medications treat leukemia.

High-intensity Treatment

  • Stem cell transplant – First, the doctor will destroy all the abnormal blood cells from the bone marrow. Then they will get the stem from the donor. The stem cells are found in bone marrow or the blood.

The stem cell transplant helps people make new and normal blood cells.

  • Chemotherapies – The doctor will put the patient under multiple chemotherapies called high-intensity therapies.


The MDS is a rare condition, and early diagnosis can help people recover better. The diagnoses involve a physical examination and taking the sample of different blood counts.

The physician may also take the sample from bone marrow for accurate analysis and put the patient on the treatment based on the level of disease.

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