Myeloproliferative disorders are often considered cancerous blood disorders and have the potential to transform into acute leukaemia. Even if they do not progress to leukaemia, myeloproliferative disorders can still be fatal in their own right, although they often progress slowly – if at all – and many patients may be asymptomatic.
Myeloproliferative disorders result in the production of too many blood cells in the bone marrow. However – unlike leukaemia – where the cells produce are immature and often do not function correctly – in myeloproliferative disorders the cells are mature and function well. However – the overproduction of these cells can lead to problems with production of the remaining types of cells. They can be divided into three main types:
- Too many red cells – polycythaemia vera
- Too many platelets – Essential thrombocythaemia
- Too much fibrous tissue- primary myelofibrosis