What are the symptoms of myelodysplastic syndrome?

Myelodysplastic syndrome does not always cause symptoms when it first develops. As the disorder progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Red spots or rashes on the skin
  • Recurrent infections
  • Easy bruising or bleeding

How is myelodysplastic syndrome diagnosed?

Your symptoms may prompt your doctor to perform diagnostic tests for myelodysplastic syndrome. In some cases, MDS is discovered unexpectedly when your doctor orders a blood test for another reason.

Hematopathologists at Miami Cancer Institute use the following advanced diagnostic methods to diagnose the type and stage of MDS:

  • Blood tests. These reveal abnormal blood cell counts and show if blood cells are shaped or sized abnormally. They are also used to rule out other conditions that cause anemia.

Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy. These tests look at a sample of liquid bone marrow or solid bone marrow to confirm a diagnosis of MDS and reveal the type and stage of the disease. They can also provide other information about bone marrow cells. Your doctor obtains a bone marrow sample with a special needle that is typically inserted into the hip bone. A local anesthetic is used to numb the site of the procedure.

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