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What Is Myelofibrosis (MF)?

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Published on July 29, 2015

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston responds to the question “What is myelofibrosis?”  He responds with a detailed explanation of myelofibrosis and the issues it may cause in patients.

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Transcript | What Is Myelofibrosis (MF)?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. :

 

Carol Preston:

Dr. Pemmaraju, please define myelofibrosis. 

Dr. Pemmaraju:

Sure.  Myelofibrosis is a disease or disorder of the bone marrow, and the bone marrow is the factory that makes all of our blood cells throughout our adult life. 

The bone marrow makes three important lines of blood cells, and I want to describe them briefly.  The red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrition to all parts of the body.  The white blood cells help us to fight off infections, and platelets help us to clot so that we don't bleed too much. 

 

Because it's the factory that makes all these cells, it's a headquarters. And in myelofibrosis the headquarters becomes a disease in the sense that it is not able to produce most of these cells, and so because of that you have shortages of those cells.  A shortage of the red blood cells leads to anemia, which can lead to patients to have shortness of breath or bleeding.  Disruption of the white cell production can lead to increased infections, which many of our myelofibrosis patients have.  And, finally, disruptions of the platelets, either too high or too low can lead to either bleeding or blood clotting. 

And so, in short, myelofibrosis is a bone marrow disease that results in many different symptoms and problems for our patients. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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