Myelofibrosis (MF) is a chronic disease. It's important that your doctor is experienced in treating myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) or works in consultation with a hematology-oncologist who has experience treating MPN patients.
Types of MF Treatment
For MF patients who have symptoms, doctors use several types of treatment:
- Chemotherapy and drug therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Stem cell transplantation
- Your doctor may suggest that you participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials can involve therapy with new drugs and new drug combinations. (link to hidden page)
In addition, there are supportive therapies that may be used to help manage a patient’s anemia (and low blood cell count in general), enlarged spleen or other MF-related systemic symptoms. Some of those therapies include iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 replacement and blood transfusions.
Finding the Best Treatment Approach
Patients who are symptom-free and do not have signs of anemia, an enlarged spleen or other complications are generally not treated. Some people remain stable and symptom-free for many years. However, these patients need to be monitored closely through regular medical checkups and examinations to detect any signs and symptoms of disease progression.
For patients with symptoms, the goals of MF treatment are to:
- Relieve symptoms
- Reduce an enlarged spleen
- Improve blood cell counts (i.e., anemia)
- Reduce the risk of complications.
As you develop a treatment plan with your doctor, be sure to discuss:
- The results you can expect from treatment
- Potential side effects
- The possibility of participating in a clinical trial, where you'll have access to advanced medical treatment that may be more beneficial to you than standard treatment
You may find it helpful to bring a loved one with you to your doctor's visits for support and to take notes and ask follow-up questions. It's a good idea to prepare questions you'd like to ask when you visit your doctor. You can also record your conversations with your doctor and listen more closely when you get home.
Click here to download lists of suggested questions to ask your healthcare providers.