Myelofibrosis

What is myelofibrosis?
Myelofibrosis is a slow-growing disease that occurs when scar tissue builds up in the bone marrow, replacing healthy bone marrow (which is responsible for producing healthy blood cells). The scarring of the bone marrow cuts off the marrow’s ability to produce enough healthy blood cells, increasing the risk of developing anemia, infections, bleeding and other diseases.

What causes myelofibrosis?
The causes of myelofibrosis are unknown, and there are no known risk factors. It typically occurs in people over age 50. Diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma may also cause bone marrow scarring. This is called secondary myelofibrosis.

What are the symptoms of myelofibrosis?
Myelofibrosis is usually diagnosed through a blood test as it does not typically present early symptoms. However common symptoms of the disease are:
• Weakness or fatigue
• Pain below the ribs on the left side
• Feeling full after eating only a little (signs of an enlarged spleen)
• Feeling short of breath
• Fever
• Easy bleeding or bruising
• Frequent infections
• Pale skin

How is myelofibrosis diagnosed?
At KHCC, physicians use a variety of diagnostic procedures and techniques to ensure the most accurate diagnosis possible, including:
• Complete blood count (CBC) test and other blood tests
• Peripheral blood smear to check for any abnormalities in the shape or maturity of the blood cells
• Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy to examine the bone marrow for abnormalities
• Cytogenetic analysis to look for changes in the chromosomes of blood or bone marrow cells

How is myelofibrosis treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on the patient’s symptoms, chromosomal abnormalities, and the frequency of blood transfusion needed.

There are different types of treatment for myelofibrosis, depending on the condition and general health of the patient. The general aim of treatment is to relieve the symptoms and controlling the disease to improve the patient’s quality of life. Treatment for patients with myelofibrois can include chemotherapy, blood transfusions, surgery (to remove an enlarged spleen) and allogenic stem cell transplants.

Physicians
At KHCC, myelofibrosis patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of specialists highly experienced in treating myelofibrosis and other blood disorders.

Supportive Care
The leukemia & MDS multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that patients with myelofibrosis can receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: