In its end stages, myelofibrosis presents as a wasting illness with internal bleeding due to decreased platelet levels, liver failure and general disability, explains HealthCentral. The average survival rate among myelofibrosis patients is five years following diagnosis.
Myelofibrosis is a form of leukemia that prevents the body from producing blood cells normally, causing scarring of the bone marrow, notes Mayo Clinic. This scarring produces enlargement of the spleen and liver, fatigue, weakness, and severe anemia. In most patients, myelofibrosis symptoms become progressively worse over time, although there are some people who remain symptom-free for years. As blood cell production diminishes, patients may experience fever, pale skin, easy bruising and bleeding, night sweats and bone pain. They may also become more prone to infections or experience pain or discomfort underneath their left ribs due to spleen enlargement.
Many of the treatments for myelofibrosis are aimed at addressing specific symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. Doctors may treat severe anemia with blood transfusions, medication therapy or androgen therapy. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy and splenectomy can treat an uncomfortably large spleen. The only treatment that can cure myelofibrosis is allogeneic stem cell transplantation, but the majority of patients are not candidates for this form of therapy due to its high risks.