Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) is a term for a group of disorders that cause the bone marrow to produce an inadequate number of healthy blood cells — red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In MDS, cells in the bone marrow responsible for making blood cells (stem cells) don't mature, don't make enough blood cells or make defective cells.
Types of MDS depend on the cell abnormality. They usually affect older individuals, but MDS can affect people at any age. For most people the cause is unknown. However, you may develop MDS after treatment for another condition, such as cancer, or from exposure to chemicals or heavy metals.
Some people with MDS may eventually develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer of the blood cells. The chances of developing AML depend on the type and cause of MDS.
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Read more about myelodysplastic syndromes.
Carolyn "Ceci" Christenson, age 18, of Gilbert, Ariz., has already survived a rare, life-threatening blood disorder and become a high-powered recruiter for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). Her experience inspires Christenson to speak out for patients whose hope for ...