What is Multiple Myeloma?
And How Is It Diagnosed?
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that starts in the plasma cells of bone marrow. Myeloma is different from bone cancer because it begins in the white blood cells, not in the bone. Though the words sound similar, myeloma is also not melanoma, which is a cancer of the skin.
Understanding Multiple Myeloma
Plasma cell neoplasms are diseases in which the body makes too many plasma cells. Multiple myeloma is a type of plasma cell neoplasm.
Know Your Multiple Myeloma Treatment Options
While there is no cure for multiple myeloma, the cancer can be managed successfully for years in many people. Your multiple myeloma treatment will depend on whether you are experiencing symptoms and your overall health. In many cases, a team of doctors will work with you to determine the best treatment plan. The goals of treatment are to eliminate myeloma cells, control tumor growth, control pain, and allow you to have an active life.
The Symptoms and Side Effects of
When you’re going through treatment for multiple myeloma, listen to your body. Keep a journal of how you feel physically and emotionally. Keeping notes can help you keep track of how you’re doing over time and of symptoms or side effects that may come and go. This can help you work closely with your doctor to manage the side effects that you experience from multiple myeloma or its treatment, and ensure that your questions are answered.
Making the Most of Your Medical Appointments
Your oncologist, nurses, and other members of your healthcare team work together to treat your multiple myeloma. Since medical appointments are the main time you will interact with your team, being as prepared as possible for these visits is important. It will help ensure that you understand your diagnosis and treatment, get answers to your questions, and feel more satisfied with your overall care. Here are some ways to prepare for your medical appointments.
Your Guide to Making Multiple Myeloma Treatment Decisions
Experts in myeloma will help you consider all of your treatment options, balancing the risks and benefits of each with your age and overall health. For example, while high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant is considered a standard treatment for myeloma, not everyone can tolerate high-dose chemotherapy.
Drug for Multiple Myeloma Demonstrated to Significantly Extend Disease-Free Survival
Initial results from a large, randomized clinical trial for people with multiple myeloma showed that people who received the oral drug lenalidomide (Revlimid, also known as CC-5013) following a blood stem cell transplant had their cancer kept in check longer than those who received a placebo.
Coping with Blood Cancers
Cure rates and remission periods for adults with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, and other blood cancers are greatly improved because of new drugs, new uses for existing drugs, and improvements in radiation therapy and stem cell transplantation techniques. Research to improve health outcomes for more people with blood cancers is ongoing. Physicians are working to tailor therapies to decrease side effects, as well as long-term and late effects.