What Are Myeloproliferative Disorders?
Myeloproliferative disorders are rare blood cancers that affect the bone marrow and blood cells. There are several different types of myeloproliferative disorders, including:
- Chronic myeloid leukemia – A condition where your body produces too many granulocytes (a type of white blood).
- Chronic eosinophilic leukemia/hypereosinophilic syndrome – A condition where your body has excessive white blood cell counts
- Essential thrombocythemia – A condition where the body produces too many platelets, which help the blood clot properly
- Polycythemia vera – A condition where the body produces too many red blood cells
- Primary myelofibrosis – A disorder that affects the granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) and the red blood cells and produces scarring in the bone marrow.
- Systemic mastocytosis – A condition that affects the mast cells (a types of white cell that is rich in histamine) found in the connective tissue, stomach and intestinal lining, and skin
Symptoms vary depending on the type of myeloproliferative disorder you have. Some people have no symptoms. Symptoms can include:
- Bruising or bleeding easily
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Pale skin
- Petechiae (pinpoint red dots under the skin)
- Shortness of breath
- Sinus infections
- Skin infections
- Unexplained weight loss
- Urinary tract infections
Treatment options for myeloproliferative disorders vary depending on your specific condition. They can include:
- Blood or platelet transfusion – Delivering donor blood or platelet transfusion to your body through an IV (intravenously)
- Chemotherapy – Medication administered by IV or by mouth to fight rapidly dividing cells in the body, including cancer cells
- Growth factor therapy – Injections that stimulate bone marrow cells
- Medication – Therapy administered by mouth or intravenously (by injection or IV) to treat your specific condition
- Radiation therapy – X-rays and other forms of radiation that fight cancer cells
- Splenectomy – Surgery to remove the spleen
- Stem cell transplant – A procedure to add healthy donor bone marrow to your body
- Watchful waiting – If you don’t have significant symptoms, your physician may recommend postponing treatment.
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