Knowledge is power. Are you facing a new diagnosis, recurrence, living with metastatic disease, or supporting a loved one through their cancer journey? The Cancer Connect Myelofibrosis Information Center has current, evidence-based information for you. Get the facts about Myelofibrosis diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, and stay up to date with ongoing Myelofibrosis research that could impact your treatment decisions through our daily cancer news.
Myelofibrosis is a type of blood cancer known as a myeloproliferative neoplasm that is chronic and progressive in nature. It involves the abnormal development and function of bone marrow cells that produce blood cells and leads to the formation of scar tissue in the bone marrow. When the bone marrow becomes scarred it can’t make enough blood cells and this can cause anemia, enlargement of the spleen and liver, fatigue, and other problems. In some patients with myelofibrosis, the condition progresses to acute myeloid leukemia. Myelofibrosis is rare and affects ~ 18,000 people in the U. S. Although it can occur at any age it most commonly occurs in individuals over 65.
When myelofibrosis develops on its own (and not as the result of another bone marrow disease), it’s called primary myelofibrosis. Myelofibrosis can also result from a worsening of other bone marrow diseases, such as polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia.
The following is a general overview of the diagnosis and treatment of myelofibrosis. Recent advances in treatment have resulted in new treatment options that reduce symptoms and improve survival. Each person with myelofibrosis is different, and the specific characteristics of your condition will determine how it is managed. The information on this Web site is intended to help educate you about treatment options and to facilitate a shared decision-making process with your treating physician.1
- Symptoms of Myelofibrosis
- Diagnosis of Myelofibrosis
- Treatment of Myelofibrosis
- Strategies to Improve Outcomes
In its early stages, myelofibrosis may not cause any symptoms. As the disease progresses, patients may experience the following symptoms which are the result of an enlarged spleen, abnormal blood cell production, and the release of too many cytokines into the blood.1:
Symptoms due to an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly):
- Feeling pain or fullness below the ribs on the left side.
- Feeling full sooner than normal when eating.
- Pain under the left ribs.
Non-spleen related symptoms:
- Feeling very tired.
- Shortness of breath.
- Easy bruising or bleeding.
- Petechiae (flat, red, pinpoint spots under the skin that are caused by bleeding).
- Bone/muscle pain
- Night sweats.
- Weight loss.
These symptoms can have a profound impact on quality of life.