Signs and Symptoms of Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) cause low blood counts, which can be found on blood tests, sometimes even before symptoms appear. Shortages of one or more types of blood cells cause many of the symptoms of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS):

  • Shortage of red blood cells (anemia) can lead to excessive tiredness, shortness of breath, and pale skin.
  • Not having enough normal white blood cells (leukopenia) can lead to frequent or severe infections; often the neutrophil is the type of white blood cell that is low - this condition is called neutropenia.
  • Shortage of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia) can lead to easy bruising and bleeding. Some people notice frequent or severe nosebleeds or bleeding from the gums.

Other symptoms can include weight loss, fever, and loss of appetite. Of course, these problems not only occur with MDS but are more often caused by something other than cancer.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: February 10, 2014 Last Revised: July 2, 2015

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