Posted by: Chris Maloney | June 11, 2012

MDS Diagnosis Is A Complicated Way Of Saying “Side Effects From Cancer Treatment.”


BONE MARROW: ABNORMAL MEGAKARYOCYTES IN A MYELODYSPLASTIC SYNDROME Bone marrow smear from a patient with RAEB and an isolated 5q-chromosome abnormality showing two small megakaryocytes with nonlobulated nuclei. The cytoplasm is well granulated. (Wright-Giemsa stain) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we talk about MDS, or Myelodysplastic syndrome, it is important not only to think about what it is but where it came from. 

The Wiki page says it well:

“MDS is caused by environmental exposures such as radiation and benzene; other risk factors have been reported inconsistently.”

MDS is consistently associated with things that cause cancer, and secondarily with the treatments of cancer.  So when Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts joined the ranks of others with MDS including astronomer Carl Sagan, writer Susan Sontag, and writer Roald Dahl, she was really telling the viewing public that she was suffering serious long term side effects from our current regime of treating cancer.   What she wasn’t saying, because no one will say it, is that she was one of the expected casulties of the ongoing stalemate war on cancer.

Medical News: GMA Host Takes MDS Diagnosis to Viewers – in Oncology/Hematology, Hematology from MedPage Today.

When the Washington Post covered the story, they reported that the darn cells just aren’t producing enough.  It appears that MDS magically appears from a vacuum in the body, never related to anything.  And the treatments are a variety of the same drugs and procedures that are often the original causes of the problem.  So they aren’t terribly effective.

Instead we move to the last-ditch effort of bone marrow transplant which is now called the less formidable sounding “stem cell transplant.”  If they could, they would call it “a walk in the park.”  In fact, I think they should start calling all medical procedures by innocuous names.  A Bypass surgery could be called a “heart push up,”  brain surgery could be “opening your mind,” and the so pleasant “fecal transplant” could become “upgrading your gut.”  Everything sounds better when you rename it.


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