We have changed our visitation policy for the safety of our patients and staff. Click here for the updated visitation policy and click here for information about COVID-19.

Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

The goal of MDS treatment is to kill cancer cells and slow the pace of the disease. A stem cell transplant (SCT) is the only way to cure MDS, but it may not work for all people. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used to ease symptoms. They are also used to clear the body of cancer cells before an SCT.

Comfort measures are used in later stages of MDS to ease symptoms and make the quality of life better. Some treatments may keep one type of MDS from becoming acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Blood transfusions and medicines to boost blood cell counts are common methods.

Your care team is made up of many types of health professionals. This includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. Keep in touch with your team and to go recommended appointments. This will help you get the most from the treatments.

MDS is treated with:

ChemotherapyLifestyle changesManaging side effectsOther treatments

Treatments for many cancers are always changing. Some have yet to be found. As a result, clinical trials exist around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should enlist in a clinical trial. You can find out about them at the US National Institutes of Health website.


Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114054/Myelodysplastic-syndrome-MDS . Updated October 15, 2018. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Merck Manual Professional Version website Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/myelodysplastic-syndrome-mds. Updated December 2018. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Treating myelodysplastic syndromes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/myelodysplastic-syndrome/treating.html. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/myelodysplastic-treatment-pdq#section/%5F49. Updated June 14, 2018. Accessed March 14, 2019.

Revision Information