Alternative names: Myeloid metaplasia.
Myelofibrosis is a rare disease in which bone marrow is gradually replaced by fibrous scar tissue. As a result, the marrow is unable to produce sufficient new blood cells, resulting in anemia, bleeding problems, and a higher risk of infection.
Myelofibrosis usually develops gradually and in people aged over 50, with those aged 60-70 being most likely to develop the condition. Men are slightly more likely than women to develop it. Exposure to petrochemicals such as benzene and toluene, and intense radiation may increase the risk of developing the condition.
There are no known risk factors for myelofibrosis.
Bone marrow or stem cell transplants can help young people who have the disease, and may even cure it. Other possible treatments include blood transfusions, anemia medications, radiation and chemotherapy, or splenectomy (if swelling becomes severe, or to reduce anemia.)
Thalidomide and lenalidomide is used to reduce symptoms and treat anemia.
Symptoms generally worsen over time, and the average survival period is about 5 years, but some people can survive much longer.
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