Typical treatments for myelofibrosis include drug therapy, chemotherapy and Janus-associated kinase inhibitors, according to Cancer Support Community. Immunomodulators, androgen therapy and recombinant erythropoietin are also possible treatment options.
Individuals who have not developed any symptoms or who do not show signs of complications, such as anemia or an enlarged spleen, are usually not required to undergo treatment, notes Cancer Support Community. Some patients don’t experience symptoms for numerous years. However, doctors continue to monitor a patient’s condition through regular assessments and physical examinations to identify the onset of any sign or symptom.
Drug therapy aims to delay the progression of myelofibrosis and manage the effects of the disease, says Cancer Support Community. Chemotherapy involves the use of medications that target rapidly dividing cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs also typically attack other quickly developing cells in the body, causing side effects such as hair loss. JAK inhibitors reduce the symptoms of myelofibrosis by inhibiting enzymes that are responsible for blood regulation.
Immunomodulators work by weakening the immune system to affect cancer cells, explains Cancer Support Community. Androgen therapy involves the use of synthetic drugs that boost red blood-cell production to alleviate the symptoms of chronic anemia; however, the medications can potentially harm the liver, requiring the careful monitoring of the liver functions of patients who undergo androgen therapy.