Health Information

Reducing Your Risk of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

At this time there are no specific guidelines for reducing your risk of MDS . The cause is unknown and most of the identified risk factors are beyond your control. The only risk factor you can control to a certain extent is your exposure to industrial chemicals.

Industrial Exposures

If you are exposed to any chemical for prolonged periods of time, check with a Poison Control Center (in the phone book or at http://www.aapcc.org/ ) to determine the risks associated with this exposure. If your exposure is at work, there may be information or assistance available through your employer. The toxins suspected of causing MDS are petrochemicals, benzene, and rubber.

Congenital Syndromes

Down’s syndrome , Fanconi’s anemia, or von Recklinghausen’s disease all increase your risk of MDS. If you have one of these conditions, you should be monitored regularly by your doctor for signs of MDS.

Medical Treatments

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy , used almost exclusively for treating cancer, may increase your risk of MDS very slightly. If you have received either of these treatments, see your doctor for checkups on a regular basis.

Revision Information

  • American Association of Poison Control Centers website. Available at: http://www.aapcc.org .

  • Cashen A, Wildes T. The Washington Manual, Hematology and Oncology Subspeciality Consult. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.

  • Castro-Malaspina H, O’Reilly RJ. Aplastic anemia and the myelodysplastic syndromes. In: Kasper DL, Harrison TR. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.

  • Silverman LR. Myelodysplastic syndrome. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancer%5Finformation/ . Accessed November 30, 2002.