Myelodysplastic Syndromes

There is hope, innovation and support for those diagnosed with a myelodysplastic syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are diseases of the blood and bone marrow. According to the Aplastic Anemias & MDS Foundation approximately 13,000 people in the United State are diagnosed with MDS each year. It is rare to find MDS in people younger than 40, and most people who are diagnosed with MDS are over 60. It seems to occur most often in men.

In myelodysplastic syndromes, the blood stem cells do not mature into healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. The immature blood cells, called blasts, do not function normally and either die in the bone marrow or soon after they enter the blood. This leaves less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets to develop in the bone marrow. When there are fewer blood cells, infection, anemia, or easy bleeding may occur.

What does the term "myelodysplastic" actually mean?

Myelo = blood cells
Dysplastic = abnormal development or growth
When you have myelodysplastic syndrome, this means that your blood cells have an unusual shape and that they have abnormal growth

Patient Care and Treatment

The Adult Hematology/Oncology Clinic at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center provides diagnosis and treatment to those whose bone marrow doesn't make enough healthy blood cells. Our clinic follows a team approach to care. Patients have their situation discussed not only by our hematologist oncologists, but also by radiologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, bone marrow transplant experts, registered nurses and social workers. By having everyone involved, a personalized treatment plan is developed.

Bone Marrow Transplant
For some of our patients, it may be advisable to undergo a bone marrow transplant. In this case, care of the patient is shared with our Bone Marrow Transplant Program. This program is world-renown for its multidisciplinary effort and dedication to our survivorship and chronic GVHD clinic and programs.


Since our program is part of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, our patients have access to Patient Support Services. To fully understand what this means, please take time to visit the support services area of this website. We outline the services available to our patients at every point in their care.

Make an appointment/referral

To make an appointment, please call 734-232-4782; or use our appointment request form.

If you would like to refer a patient, please contact our M-Line service: 800-962-3555.

Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.

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