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MDS, a blood cancer, strikes nearly 5 times more Americans than previously thought
Date:4/26/2010

HACKENSACK, N.J. (April 26, 2010, 4 p.m. EDT) Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) a group of serious blood cancers are nearly five times more common in seniors than previously thought, according to a new study by researchers from the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. The study also showed for the first time that MDS patients are at much higher risk for heart attack, diabetes and other serious complications than other seniors, and that their health care costs are far higher. The study is published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"This study demonstrates that MDS is a very common blood cancer of the elderly, and that those who have it are at high risk of dying prematurely from other causes," says lead author Stuart L. Goldberg, M.D., a hematologist/oncologist who is Chief of the Division of Leukemia, John Theurer Cancer Center. "This has implications for how the disease is treated and will hopefully spur additional research."

Myelodysplastic syndromes, which occur primarily in people age 60 and above, are a group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. Patients with MDS are more prone to infection, anemia and bleeding and often report extreme fatigue and other debilitating symptoms. The most common treatment for MDS is blood transfusion, but four new medications to treat the disease and its complications have come to the market in the last four years. MDS is diagnosed through blood and bone marrow tests.

"Dr. Goldberg's study highlights the breadth of work we are completing at the John Theurer Cancer Center where we are committed to improving patient care through advancing research," said Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.E., Chairman and Executive Administrative Director, John Theurer Cancer Center. "We are pleased to take a leading role in this milestone study for the MDS community."

MDS was not reportable as a cancer unti
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Contact: Amy Leahing
amy.leahing@widmeyer.com
646-213-7245
John Theurer Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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