Myelofibrosis Treatment and Side Effects
Treatment for myelofibrosis can involve many different doctors, including: a hematologist/oncologist, a surgeon, a radiation oncologist, and/or a stem cell transplant specialist. Your health care team also may include: an oncology nurse, a nurse navigator, a counselor or social worker and pharmacist. These people can help you find information and resources that may be useful before, during and after treatment.
Ask your doctor about the other members of your health care team – their names and how you can meet them. You also may want to ask your insurance company to assign you a case manager to help you understand which treatments and services your health insurance will cover.
Side Effects Management
Side effects vary by treatment. The following is a list of selected treatments and possible side effects:
- Chemotherapy: The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the drugs and the dose and may include hair loss, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and mouth sores.
- Androgen therapy: These drugs can harm the liver, and, therefore, require close monitoring through blood tests and ultrasounds. They also can cause facial hair growth and other masculinizing effects in women.
- Glucocorticoids: There are a number of possible side effects, most of which are manageable when used for a short time.
- JAK Inhibitors: Side effects can include an increased risk of bleeding and infection, bruising, dizziness and headaches.
- Surgical Removal of the Spleen (Splenectomy): Surgical removal of the spleen can cause side effects. You should be closely monitored for complications.
- Stem Cell Transplantation: This treatment has very high risks, and is not an option for everyone.
- Non-myeloablative stem cell transplant: Side effects can include headache, diarrhea, weakness, nausea, and dizziness.