Duke’s blood cancer specialists use the latest medical advances to detect and treat a group of blood cancers called myeloproliferative disorders. Our advanced training and experience ensure we diagnose your condition early and provide you the best possible care. Proper treatment increases the likelihood that you will live for many years with myeloproliferative disorders and experience few complications. We develop a personalized treatment plan to control your condition, minimize painful symptoms, and improve your quality of life.
About Myeloproliferative Disorders
Myeloproliferative disorders, also called myeloproliferative neoplasms, are caused by the overproduction of red blood cells, white blood cells, and/or platelets in the bone marrow. They increase your risk for stroke, blood clots, and heart attack and may cause an enlarged spleen. Common types include:
- Polycythemia vera -- too many red blood cells
- Essential thrombocytosis -- too many platelets, the blood cells that help the blood clot
- Myelofibrosis -- excessive collagen or fibrous tissue in the bone marrow that interferes with blood cell production
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) -- an increased production of white blood cells in the bone marrow
These diseases have similar criteria for diagnosis, which is why it’s important for one of our experienced specialists to evaluate your condition.
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Myeloproliferative disorders may be difficult to diagnose because some of their symptoms and lab abnormalities resemble those of other conditions, for example, iron deficiency or polycythemia. Our doctors conduct thorough testing to ensure an accurate diagnosis and effective management of your condition.
Complete Blood Count and Blood Film
Blood is examined under a microscope to count the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy
Your doctor removes a small amount of bone marrow, blood, and tissue and examines it under a microscope to detect abnormal cells.
Chromosomes in bone marrow are examined to look for abnormalities in individual cells -- specifically the Philadelphia chromosome that is used in diagnosing CML.
Highly specialized genetic testing looks for the mutations associated with most myeloproliferative disorders such as JAK2, MPL, and CALR mutations. These tests allow our experts to examine your genetic makeup, pinpoint your specific diagnosis, and determine your treatment needs. We perform genetic testing on a molecular level, a capability that is not available at many other cancer centers.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.
Why Choose Duke
Recognized for Excellence
As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we offer a level of expertise that can only be found in a small number of cancer centers in the country. We are also part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving patient care.
We treat nearly 1,000 people with blood cancers each year. Our experienced doctors are skilled in diagnosing myeloproliferative disorders and developing a treatment plan designed to achieve the best possible outcome.
Quick Genetic Testing Results
Myeloproliferative disorders may be associated with certain genetic mutations. Identifying these genetic irregularities is key to getting an accurate diagnosis. Our specialized molecular diagnostic lab provides prompt genetic testing results -- often within 24 to 48 hours after testing -- so you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
Our doctors investigate new therapies, including targeted agents and stem cell transplants, to treat myeloproliferative disorders. You may benefit from their research before it becomes widely available.
A Team of Specialists
Our blood cancer medical team includes specialists from hematology-oncology, hematopathology, cytogenetics, molecular diagnostics, and adult bone marrow transplant. The team meets regularly to discuss your condition, consider opinions, and offer coordinated and advanced care.
A Caring Environment
You will have access to our comprehensive cancer support services. Support staff can help you understand treatment options and manage the side effects of your treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.
A Whole-Body Approach
Our clinical social worker is available to help you cope with the emotional and psychological stress of your disease, as well as other medical concerns. You may also use our services that incorporate nutrition, guided imagery, anxiety control, and meditation. Our cancer survivorship clinic offers a range of resources to help you after your treatment ends.