Dr. Eunice Wang in lab.

MDS Diagnosis: Right from the Start

Because myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) include several different blood disorders, getting an accurate diagnosis is essential. We perform an extensive pathology review as part of our second-opinion service. About 11-18% of the cases we see are changed to some degree as a result of those reviews.

Our specialized laboratories can help us zero in on the unique features of your MDS so we can identify the best treatment options. All our facilities operate with state-of-the-art technology to provide a complete diagnostic workup.

Fast, Accurate Results

Our pathologists perform the testing right here at Roswell Park to ensure fast, accurate results. Our laboratories can also provide information about unusual genetic or molecular markers of your disease, which may be important for determining not only your prognosis but also your eligibility for available clinical trials.

Standard diagnostic tests for MDS at Roswell Park include:

  • Blood tests: The lab does a complete blood count to check the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. We also look for levels of proteins, minerals and vitamins in the blood, including erythropoietin, iron, B12, folate and copper. Having too few of these molecules can be a sign of a medical problem other than MDS.
  • Biopsy: A bone marrow biopsy is the only way to confirm that abnormal cells are present in the bone marrow, determine how many there are and see what they look like. There are two ways your doctor can obtain bone marrow. Some people will have both procedures during the same visit:
    • Bone marrow aspiration: The doctor uses a hollow needle to remove samples of bone marrow.
    • Bone marrow biopsy: The doctor uses a hollow needle to remove a small piece of bone and bone marrow.
  • Cytogenic analysis: The pathologist examines the actual chromosomes of the cancer cell.

Roswell Park’s Flow and Image Cytometry Facility is recognized as one of the finest in the nation. It analyzes blood and bone marrow cell samples for not only our clinicians and researchers but also leading health centers and many National Institutes of Health clinical studies. This unique facility specializes in MDS, leukemias and lymphomas, identifying specific cancer types and subtypes.

We are the only provider in the Western New York region that offers a full in-house cytogenetic pathology service and fast-tracking diagnosis to avoid delays in starting treatment.

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