Multiple Myeloma (cont.)

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What are the stages of multiple myeloma?

There are four stages of multiple myeloma. While many doctors use different staging, these are various stages cited by many clinicians:

  • Smoldering: Multiple myeloma with no symptoms
  • Stage I: Early disease with some symptoms
  • Stage II: Multiple symptoms and more advanced disease
  • Stage III: Multiple areas with multiple myeloma cells and more serious symptoms

Because staging criteria differ according to different groups, some clinicians simply define the individual's multiple myeloma without assigning a stage and simply estimate a prognosis (see below) for their patient. In 2013, an international group divided stages into three stages based on two criteria, the concentration of beta-2-microglobulin and serum albumen levels; over time this defined criteria may become widely accepted.

What is the treatment for multiple myeloma?

There is no known treatment that cures multiple myeloma. However, there are methods to decrease the occurrence and severity of symptoms. The therapy is decided based upon the patient's condition and, in some individuals, the multiple myeloma stage and the interaction of the oncologist or cancer management team made with the patient's input.

Options for treatment include chemotherapy, radiation, immunosuppression, and surgery. The choices for treatment(s) often include combinations of the above techniques and combinations of chemotherapy drugs. Details of complicated treatment protocols can be found in the 2011 NCCN guidelines.

There are many drugs used to treat multiple myeloma. Research is ongoing and newer drugs are being investigated and used for treatment with some frequency. For example, a clinical trial in 2013 reported that lenalidomide produced a significant increase in survival of newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma. Most doctors that specialize in cancer treatment will be aware of these newest treatments for multiple myeloma.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/17/2013

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Multiple Myeloma - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your multiple myeloma?
Multiple Myeloma - Prognosis Question: What is the prognosis for your multiple myeloma?
Multiple Myeloma - Diagnosis Question: Describe the tests and exams that led to a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
Multiple Myeloma - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment have you, a friend, or loved one received for multiple myeloma?
Multiple Myeloma - Follow-up care Question: What type of follow-up care do you or a relative receive for multiple myeloma?