Some people can manage their MDS with their doctors for years or even decades using a watch-and-wait (observation) approach. By using the watch-and-wait method, your MDS specialist can monitor your condition with regular physical exams and blood tests. You should be able to maintain your usual activity without taking any drugs or undergoing any MDS treatment during this period.
You may feel uncomfortable because you know that you have MDS, yet you're not being treated right away. Rest assured that the watch-and-wait approach is the standard of care for people with:
- Low or intermediate-1 risk
- A hemoglobin level greater than 10 grams per deciliter
- Platelet counts greater than 50,000 per microliter (µL) to 100,000/µL
- No need for transfusions
The watch-and-wait approach lets you avoid therapy's side effects until you need treatment. Treating MDS during this early stage has not proved helpful.
You must visit your doctor regularly so he or she can check you for any health changes, specifically watching whether your disease remains stable or starts to progress. Your doctor monitors your test results to decide when it's time to start treatment and what the best treatment option is for you. The disease can sometimes progress to a more severe form of MDS or acute myeloid leukemia.