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Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer. In addition, the absence of risk factors does not mean that you will not get cancer. If you have any risk factors for MDS, talk to your doctor to discuss next steps.
In 60-70% of MDS patients, we cannot identify a specific cause. However, there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing MDS.
Exposure to certain types of chemicals can increase your risk. This includes people who have:
Received radiation therapy
Received chemotherapy with alkylating agents (such as chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide and melphalan)
Had exposure to industrial solvents (such as benzene) or ionizing radiation
Other risk factors include:
Genetic disorders (in rare cases), including Down syndrome, Fanconi anemia, neurofibromatosis type 1 or Noonan syndrome
Having a brother or sister, especially a twin, with leukemia
Exposure to cigarette smoke or alcohol before birth
Most risk factors are outside of your control. The only known risk factor over which you have any control is exposure to ionizing radiation or chemicals. If you work with radiation or chemicals, follow all the safety measures in place to protect yourself.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.