It is generally recognized that exposures to benzene on the job or at work can cause acute myeloid leukemia (AML) / acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in workers. It is less well-known that benzene causes MDS, which is often classified as a precursor to leukemia, and often leads to AML later.
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells.
This results in a lack of healthy cells, which can lead to infection, anemia, or easy bleeding.
MDS is also frequently referred to as a “pre-leukemia,” as the risks of developing leukemia after diagnosis of MDS are fairly high.
While symptoms are usually rare, they may include shortness of breath, fatigue, and pale skin that bruises or bleeds easily.
Methods of diagnosis include blood tests, which may be followed by a bone marrow test if deemed necessary.
Blood tests can suggest leukemia, but bone marrow tests are typically used to confirm the diagnosis.
Transfusions, chemotherapy, other drug therapies, and bone marrow or blood stem cell transplants are common therapies used to treat MDS.
- Overview of Benzene Exposures
- Exposure to Benzene
- Benzene-Related Diseases
- Workers Exposed to Benzene
- Benzene Exposure in Industries
- Benzene-Containing Products
- Frequently Asked Questions
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