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Diagnosed with myelodysplasia. What is the cause and treatment available?

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Oncologist
Practicing since : 2002
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I am 72y/o female recently diagnosed with myelodysplasia. My doctors cannot explain the cause or any treatment for it. Can you help with explanation. Is there anyone specializing in this disease.
I had breast CA in 2009. Received Lumpectomy and radiation...not chemo. On Arimadex med.
Posted Tue, 5 Mar 2013 in Cancer
 
 
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 9 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations.



Most of the time there is no obvious explanation for why someone develops myelodysplasia. This is a disease of the bone marrow which develops primarily in older patients.

There are some risk factors including exposure to chemotherapy but in your case this is certainly not contributory.

The bone marrow constantly changes over time. The rate at which this change occurs is something which is quite variable. In the setting of myelodysplasia generally the bone marrow has difficulty producing adequate amounts of blood cells.

This may develop to the point where transfusion might be needed or medications might be considered. There are specialized tests which are also performed on the bone marrow including chromosome studies which help hematologists decide how to approach the disease.

I suspect that you are already discussing this with your hematologist who might consider appropriate options for you. Very often this is followed over a long period of time.

If at some point in the future you require intervention we do have some therapeutic options.

Again I would recommend that you discuss this with your hematologist at length.

Thank you again for sending your question. Please let me know if you have any additional concerns.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Diagnosed with myelodysplasia. What is the cause and treatment available? 1 hour later
My correction- I had a bone marrow BIOPSY. What are some "therapeutic options" that can be discussed with my oncologist. My WBC was at 2.6 two weeks ago. At what "point in the future" would I require some sort of intervention?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 20 hours later
Hello and thank you for your follow-up question.

Generally a consideration for therapy would revolve around how you feel. In general if you develop signs of fatigue or shortness of breath in the setting of a low red blood cell count or anemia then your doctor might consider using a growth factor to help stimulate the production of your red blood cells. One of the more common growth factors that we use is Epo.

There are some other medications which can be used but this sometimes depends on the results of the bone marrow study. If you have a copy of the bone marrow study and you could send that to me I could tell you some more potential options.

If you could let me know what your hematologist has already discussed with you we could fill in the blanks and answer any additional concerns.

Thanks again for sending your question. Please let me know if you have additional concerns at this time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Diagnosed with myelodysplasia. What is the cause and treatment available? 3 hours later
Thank you for your responses. Oncologist stated my RBC is dropping also. Will continue to monitor me. If drop continues, will suggest medication. I would like to send bone marrow study to you. Is there a fax number directly to you?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 18 minutes later
Hello again.

I do not have a direct fax number for you. If possible you could scan the results and send them as an attachment to YYYY@YYYY to my attention.

Thanks again,

Dr Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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