Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are blood cancers that occur when the body makes too many white or red blood cells, or platelets. This overproduction of blood cells in the bone marrow can create problems for blood flow and lead to various symptoms. MPNs were called myeloproliferative diseases until 2008 when the World Health Organization reclassified them as cancers and renamed them myeloproliferative neoplasms.
There are 3 main types of MPNs:
- Polycythemia vera (PV)
- Essential thrombocythemia (ET)
- Myelofibrosis (MF)
Certain leukemias, including chronic myelogenous leukemia, are also now considered myeloproliferative neoplasms. Although MPNs can pose health risks, people with these conditions often live for many years after diagnosis. The choice of treatment and how well it works depends largely on the type of MPN.
People living with an MPN share tips on what they have learned from their personal cancer experience that may help others living with the disease.
The nature of working relationships with health care teams varies, and while it is important to work closely with one's team, personal research is crucial, according to Janet.
Marilyn talks about the importance of accepting and embracing vulnerability.
Exercise provides an energy boost — among other benefits — as Serena explains in this video.
Janet talks about the importance of letting go of life's little inconveniences to manage stress.
Marilyn discusses the role of emotional support in helping her live well with MPNs.
Polycythemia vera (PV) is a rare type of blood cancer. PV occurs when the body makes too many red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen through the body. Too many can cause the blood to become thicker and move more slowly. People with polycythemia vera sometimes have too many white blood cells and platelets as well.
Essential thrombocythemia (ET) is a rare type of blood cancer. ET occurs when the body makes too many platelets, the part of the blood needed for clotting. Researchers are still trying to understand the causes of ET. ET is one of 3 MPNs. There is no cure for ET but people with the disease often live normal lives.
Since 2010, myelofibrosis (MF) has been considered a form of cancer. It is one of the three most common myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) — rare blood diseases that develop when the bone marrow makes too many blood cells. In myelofibrosis, scar tissue forms inside the bone marrow. Primary myelofibrosis develops on its own. Secondary myelofibrosis can result from another bone marrow disorder (such as polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia). In either case, the body is not able to produce blood cells normally.
Find a collection of MPN resources developed under the auspices of Cancer Support Community along with several partner advocacy organizations.
Talk to a Social Worker
Advocating for yourself is important, but it can also be difficult at times. An oncology social worker can be a useful ally.
Shining the Light on MPNs
View our free educational presentations designed to educate, support, and empower MPN patients and their families.