7 year boy diagnosed with rare cancer of bone marrow cells (MDS)

Lang Lang (in mask) with his brother. Picture provided by Lang Lang

5th July 2019 – (Hong Kong) A 7 year old boy, Lang Lang was diagnosed with rare leukemia (MDS) last year and doctors had confirmed that his condition could not be treated. The entire family was devastated by his illness. His younger brother’s bone marrow was later identified as suitable for transplant. Left with no choice, the parents agreed to let both their children go through the painful surgery.

After the transplant surgery, Lang Lang developed postoperative complications including peeling skin, and fever. He eventually recovered completely over time. Lang Lang’s medical bill was footed by a non-profit organisation with allowed him to live in a hostel with other young patients near the hospital to minimise risk of infection.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are conditions that can occur when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal. This leads to low numbers of one or more types of blood cells. MDS is considered a type of cancer. (Source : Cancer.org)

In about 1 in 3 patients, MDS can progress to a rapidly growing cancer of bone marrow cells called acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In the past, MDS was sometimes referred to as pre-leukemia or smoldering leukemia. Because most patients do not get leukemia, MDS used to be classified as a disease of low malignant potential. Now that doctors have learned more about MDS, it is considered to be a form of cancer.