Arriving at a Diagnosis


There are a few different ways your healthcare provider can diagnose myelofibrosis (MF). Listen as Dr. John Mascarenhas explains the importance of getting to an accurate diagnosis.

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Arriving at a MF Diagnosis with Dr. John Mascarenhas

What should people know about a myelofibrosis diagnosis?

Dr. John Mascarenhas, Hematologist Oncologist

“Getting the diagnosis is crucial because the treatments are tailored to the diagnosis and the subtypes of disease. And then I think making sure that your disease or the treatment plan for your disease is personalized and tailored to the goals of therapy for you because it really is, as I keep saying, it's variable. It's variable in how patients present their clinical course, and their treatment goals could be different.”

What are the next steps for patients following their diagnosis?

“I think first establishing the diagnosis and secondarily establishing an appropriate treatment plan that's individualized and agreed upon between the physician and the patient, because if the two goals are not aligned, then I think that there can exist a problem, so the patient has to understand the goals. The physician has to be clear with what the goals of therapy are, and the patient has to be vocal in what their expectations are so that both could be aligned.”

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Healthcare providers use the following tests and procedures to diagnose MF:

Physical exam

Physical Exam

A physical exam may include a check of your vital signs, such as pulse and blood pressure, along with checks of the lymph nodes, spleen and abdomen.

Blood test results

Blood Tests to Check for Abnormal Blood Cell and Platelet Counts

One test looks at your complete blood count, which may show red blood cell levels below the normal range, indicating potential anemia. White blood cell and platelet counts are also looked at and may be higher or lower than normal in some people.

MRI machine

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasounds and MRIs may help your healthcare provider determine more information about your MF. Your healthcare provider will review your scans to look for the following, which may lead to a diagnosis of MF: lymphadenopathy (lymph node enlargement), osteosclerosis (generalized increased bone density), hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver) and/or splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen).

Bone marrow

Bone Marrow Biopsy and Aspiration

A sample of bone tissue and marrow from your hip bone is taken out using a needle. Another type of needle may also be used during the procedure to take a sample of the liquid portion of your bone marrow. The samples are studied in a laboratory to determine the numbers and types of cells found.

Biomarker testing

Biomarker Testing

Biomarker testing is used to find biomarkers, or medical signs such as genes and proteins, that may provide information about cancer. Biomarker testing is an additional tool that can be used by healthcare providers to determine treatment options that may be right for certain patients. It can be done on a bone marrow sample and through a blood draw ordered by your healthcare provider.

Symptoms of Myelofibrosis

Explore the Signs & Symptoms

Learn More

Doctor with Patient

Identifying Your Care Team

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