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Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will outline his Department's policy on the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes; (258436)

(2) whether the British Committee on Standards in Haematology guidelines on myelodysplastic syndromes will be updated to take into account advances in research and treatment since the last published guidelines in 2003;

(3) what consideration his Department has given to the variations in levels of access to supportive treatment for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

The 2003 “Improving Outcomes in Haematological Cancers” guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) sets out recommendations abut the care and treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), with the emphasis on symptom control and supportive treatment.

It is for the national health service locally to implement this guidance. Good progress has been made and the National Cancer Action Team continue to work with the NHS at a local level to ensure full implementation.

NICE is also appraising the drug azacitidine for the treatment of MDS and expects to publish guidance towards the end of this year.

The British Committee on Standards in Haematology (BCSH) is an independent organisation. Contact details for queries about guidance issued by the BCSH can be found at: