Myelofibrosis Symptom Management Is ‘Incredibly Important’ to Preserve Quality of Life

Myelofibrosis may cause major impairments to a patient’s quality of life, which is why it is pertinent that patients work with their clinicians to address these side effects.

Symptom management in myelofibrosis (a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm, or blood cancer) is “incredibly important,” according to Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, a professor of medicine in the Leukemia Department at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Myelofibrosis may cause anemia, low platelets and organ inflammation, which often leads to weight loss, weakness, fatigue, night sweats, bone aches and pain, explained Verstovsek, so managing symptoms is essential to improving patients’ day-to-day life.

To better understand issues that patients are facing, clinicians may use the MPN10 questionnaire, which is backed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Then, treatments and drugs will be prescribed accordingly to help patients feel better.

Verstovsek discussed myelofibrosis, including side effects from the disease, at the CURE® Educated Patient® MPN Summit.

Transcription

As the cells in the bone marrow grow and fibers are present, you will have anemia, you may have a low platelets, you may have reactive increase in the spleen and the liver. Inflammation that is part of the disease process.

Because the JAK/STAT pathway is involved, hyperactivity leads to this growth of the cells but also to inflammation. People start to lose weight, (experience) weakness, fatigue, inability to walk, night sweating, with fevers, itching, bone aches and pain. (It’s) really not pleasant at all to hear about, and imagine how is this for the person to live through that so slow deterioration. (Then there is) organ involvement with the enlargements, organ failure, the circulation is impaired, the pressure in the circulation of the belly of the lungs is in increase.

People suffer from multiple different symptoms, and it is very important not to only look at the blood count or a size of the organ, but also equally look at the quality of life and say, “My goal is to control quality of life, as is to improve the anemia or decrease the spleen.”

For objectivizing the quality of life, we utilize as much as we can, (including) a questionnaire, whether it's called MPN 10 questionnaire, which is advertised by our NCCN, which are United States guidance how to treat the patients, or people may have different questionnaires. But it is really important to have a good sense of the quality of life to make sure that we address it properly, with our medications that we have, and medications that are being developed for that reason.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.