What are Myeloproliferative Neoplasms?

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are blood disorders in which the bone marrow makes too many of one or more types of blood cells — white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets.

Normally, our bone marrow makes the cells that circulate in our blood. It is within the bone marrow that blood stem cells (immature cells) become mature blood cells over time.

Symptoms of myeloproliferative neoplasms

Symptoms vary with each type of myeloproliferative neoplasm.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Signs and symptoms of CML may look like other signs and symptoms of diseases or conditions.

  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness, lethargy
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss / loss of appetite
  • Enlarged spleen or liver (upon a physical examination)

Essential Thrombocythemia

You may experience little or no symptoms of essential thrombocythemia. Often times, essential thrombocythemia is discovered within routine lab work or exams.

Individualized treatment decisions about essential thrombocythemia often focus on your risk of developing a blood clot and your symptoms.

Symptoms of essential thrombocythemia may include:

  • Headache
  • Tingling in the hands or feet
  • Vision or hearing problems

Myelofibrosis

You may experience few or no symptoms related to myelofibrosis, or you may be more symptomatic.

Symptoms of myelofibrosis may include:

  • A feeling of fullness or abdominal pain
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss

Polycythemia Vera

Not uncommonly, polycythemia vera is discovered in routine blood work. You may experience few or no symptoms from polycythemia vera. Treatment of polycythemia vera is focused on reducing the risk of blood clots and on treating any symptoms you may have.

Symptoms of polycythemia vera may include:

  • A feeling of fullness
  • Headaches
  • Double vision, or transient loss of vision
  • Itching all over the body, frequently worse after a hot shower
  • Reddened face
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling and burning of hands and feet