Ask about leukaemia

Ask Caroline, a Macmillan Nurse working with people who have Leukaemia, Myelodysplasia and Myeloproliferative diseases. She'll aim to respond within 2 working days.

MDS treatment?

Posted by

Hi, my father (63) has just been diagnosed with MDS RAEB and has been told he is at 17% and therefore in the high risk bracket. He has been given 3 options; supportive care, chemotherapy injections as an outpatient and intensive chemotherapy. His consultant has advised the intensive chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. However everything I have read talks about high risk of serious illness caused by infection, plus he is not in the best health already and is his age not a factor in stem cell transplant? Do you have any metrics that show how likely it is that the intensive chemo will work and anything comparing the prognosis of different treatments please? He is worried that he will go through the intensive chemo to either get ill or for it not to work? 

Caroline- Macmillan

Hi Mick5360,

Apologies for the delay in replying. I have no figures for intensive v other treatments and if I did, they would probably be no use to you. These figures tend to be for a number of patients, however, everyone is different and responses to treatment differ greatly.

You are right in that age is a factor as well as other co morbidities . The consultant will have taken those into consideration when advising you on treatment. There is however, a real possibility of serious infection or for the chemotherapy not to work. There are also lots of risks involved in transplant. And these risks increase with age. 

The intensive chemotherapy and transplant is the only cure for your dads disease, and at 17%, he is nearly at the stage of becoming AML. All in all, this is a difficult one. I would advise you to write all your questions down and have a frank discussion with your dad to find out what he thinks. A frank discussion with the treating team may be able to guide you.

If you have any further questions, just send me a question or give us a call on the number below. Good Luck.

Caroline - Macmillan  Information Nurse Specialist

Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.