How is MDS treated?
The course of MDS can vary from person to person and depend on which blood cells are affected. Treatment for MDS in Ireland is based on guidelines agreed by specialists and on the results of research worldwide. The main treatments available are:
- Supportive care
- Non-intensive treatment
- Stem cell transplant
Some patients with no symptoms may not need active treatment. In this case, you will be regular check-ups instead. This is often called a watch and wait approach.
Supportive care: This type of treatment controls the symptoms of MDS rather than curing it. For example symptoms such as anaemia, infection and bleeding. No matter what type of MDS you have, you will still need supportive care if your blood counts are low. This will prevent you from getting more ill. Red blood cells or platelets can be given by transfusion. Ways to prevent and treat infections are also very important. See page 00 for more details.
Non-intensive treatment: Non-intensive treatment means taking medication that may slow down the progress of MDS or improve your blood counts. See page 00 for more details.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a treatment that can cure or control cancer cells. It is often called an intensive treatment when used to treat MDS. See page 00 for more details.
Stem cell transplant: The main treatment to possibly cure MDS is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant from another person. Unfortunately, only a small number of patients with MDS are suitable for this treatment. If you are suitable, you will be identified early so that a search for a donor can be started and a transplant considered. See page 00 for more details.