MDS is caused by a mutation of stem cells in the bone marrow. This mutation can be caused by exposure to radiation, chemotherapy, toxic chemicals or a virus. It is not a genetic disorder, but there are familial links, to blood disorders. Symptoms are similar to anemia, or shortness of breath. Bone marrow will not be producing healthy blood cells. Treatment includes stem cell transplants, from bone marrow and blood, as well as chemotherapy. MDS can develop into leukemia and is more common in men and people over 65.
Symptoms in the early stages are a general tiredness, and shortness of breath, paleness, red marks beneath the skin's surface, and bruising. MDS can develop on its own, or develop after chemo or radiation therapy. MDS is linked to Down Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia, Bloom syndrome, Ataxia Telangiectasia, Shwachman Diamond Syndrome and inherited blood disorders.