Is Myelodysplastic syndrome a cancer? – pro

Close up of microscope slide under the objectives. Selective focus.

Whether a condition is a cancer or not in a contractual context can be analyzed using some widely accepted definitions of the word “cancer”. Myelodysplastic syndrome is a name given to variety on conditions characterized by defects in inter-cellular communications, deficient hematopoietic  cell production and genetic changes that increase the risk of  developing of acute leukemia. It used to be called “preleukemia”.  World Health Organizations defines cancer as: “Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.”

National Cancer Institue defiens “cancer” as, “Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.”

Merriam-Webster says: “can·cer

 noun \ˈkan(t)-sər\

Definition of CANCER


: a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis


: an abnormal state marked by a cancer “

Because myelodysplastic syndrome is a precancerous state that does not possess the features of tissue invasion and metastatic spread, it should not be called cancer.

WHO definition:

NCI definition:


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