MDS Risk Factors

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are relatively rare, affecting fewer than four in 100,000 people. The risk for developing MDS increases with age; most patients are diagnosed in their 70s. About 12,000 new cases of MDS are diagnosed each year in the U.S. Most patients are men, and about 80% of all patients are older than 60.

About 10% of MDS cases develop after a patient has been treated with chemotherapy or radiation for another type of cancer — often breastprostate or lung. Those treatments can damage the bone marrow, which can lead to MDS. However, the vast majority of cases occur as a result of other risk factors, including:

Keep in mind that having one or more risk factors does not mean you will develop MDS. Most people who have risk factors never develop the disease.