MDS World Awareness Day - October 25
(Last Updated On: November 9, 2022)


On October 25th, MDS World Awareness Day draws attention to myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). This rare group of blood cancers occurs when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal.

Certain bones contain blood-forming cells called bone marrow. Some of these blood-forming cells are blood stem cells. These kinds of cells are necessary for making new blood cells. The three types of blood cells include red cells, white cells, and platelets. MDS occurs when there is a disruption in the creation of new blood cells. This often results in a shortage of red blood cells, which is called anemia. For some patients, MDS progresses into a rapidly growing cancer of bone marrow cells. This condition is called acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Each year, up to 20,000 new cases of MDS are reported in the United States. It’s believed that 170,000 people in the U.S. are currently living with MDS. Across the globe, there are about 87,000 new cases of MDS each year.

Symptoms of MDS include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual paleness
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Red spots beneath the skin
  • Frequent infections

For most cases of MDS, there is no known cause. In some instances, MDS may be caused by exposure to cancer treatments or toxic chemicals. There is no cure for MDS. However, there are some treatment options that can manage the symptoms, slow the progression, and reduce complications. Blood transfusions are one such treatment option. Medications to increase the number of blood cells in the body and to stimulate blood cells to mature are also used. For some people, a bone marrow transplant is also an option.

HOW TO OBSERVE #MDSWorldAwarenessDay

Many MDS patient support groups gather together on this day to show their support for one another and others battling this disease. Charity walks, concerts, and other events focus on fundraising for MDS research.

To participate:

  • Donate to the MDS Foundation, Inc. or another organization that funds MDS research.
  • Organize or join an MDS walk in your community.
  • Learn more about MDS and other kinds of blood cancers.
  • Read about famous people diagnosed with MDS, such as Robin Roberts, Carl Sagan, Nina Foch, and Michael Brecker.

Spread awareness for this day on social media with #MDSWorldAwarenessDay.


The MDS Alliance, along with MDS Patient Support Groups from the UK and around the world established MDS World Awareness Day. It has been observed on October 25th since 2016.


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