MDS does not always produce symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they are typically related to one of three common MDS complications: anemia (a low red blood cell count), neutropenia (a low white blood cell count) or thrombocytopenia (a low platelet count). These complications can lead to MDS symptoms such as:
- Persistent weakness and fatigue
- Easy bruising
- Bleeding from the nose or gums
- Pain in the bones
- Unusually pale skin
- Breathing difficulties (during activity and while at rest)
- Cardiovascular symptoms, such as chest pain
- Frequent infections (especially of the skin, sinus, lungs or urinary tract)
While these are the most commonly reported symptoms of MDS, they can also be caused by less serious conditions, such as a vitamin deficiency. As a result, it’s especially important for a patient to discuss these symptoms with a physician who is familiar with myelodysplastic syndromes – especially if the patient has an elevated risk for developing MDS. A physician with experience in malignant hematology can run appropriate tests to rule out more common potential causes, then promptly place the patient on a proper path to treatment.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our skilled oncologists are highly experienced in diagnosing the various forms of MDS. Our team can help patients determine if their symptoms are the result of MDS or a different condition entirely. And, because we offer all diagnostic services in a single, convenient location with all lab and blood work performed on-site, we’re able to provide prompt and highly accurate results. If MDS is determined to be the underlying cause of the symptoms, our oncologists can make tailored recommendations for treatment and supportive care.