MF is a chronic blood cancer in which scar tissue forms in the bone marrow and reduces its ability to produce normal blood cells. It may be associated with certain genetic mutations such as the Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) mutation. In MF, the scarring of the bone marrow leads to reduced production of normal blood cells.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Some patients may not experience any symptoms whilst others may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Night sweats
- Bone/ muscle pain
- Abdominal pain
- Enlarged spleen leading to pain under the left rib or early feeling of fullness
Other complications from MF may include:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Increased pressure on blood flow to the liver ( portal hypertension)
- Bleeding complications
- Progression to leukaemia
What is the prognosis for patients with MF?
The prognosis of MF is different for every patient. While some live for many years without developing major symptoms or complications, others may find that their disease progresses more quickly.
Factors that influence MF prognosis are age, white blood cell counts, number of immature white blood cells ( also known as blasts or leukaemic cells) in the blood, constitutional symptoms ( e.g night sweats, weight loss, fever), low red blood cells, transfusion dependence, low platelet count and abnormal chromosomal analysis.
Your doctor will need to monitor you closely and will discuss your individual prognosis based on the relevant factors.
What is the risk of progression to an acute leukaemia?
10 year risk of transformation to an acute leukaemia is approximately 20% for MF patients.