Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a group of blood disorders which prevent a person’s bone marrow from producing the correct amount and quality of blood cells. Red, white and platelet cells can be affected.
These problems lead to people with MDS feeling very tired and weak, and bleeding or bruising more easily. There are different levels of severity of MDS. It’s not a type of leukaemia, but can sometimes lead to acute leukaemia.
MDS is rare – about 4 in every 100,000 people get MDS. It mainly affects older people, and is more common in people over 70 years old.
If you have low or intermediate risk MDS, or you are an adult, you may not need treatment straight away, but regular blood transfusions and medication can help.
Some people with more severe MDS can have chemotherapy, and a small number of people and especially children will need to have a stem cell transplant. This will be an allograft transplant – when your new stem cells are donated by someone else.
Peter had a bone marrow transplant to treat his MDS in 2012:. Read his story here.