Multiple Myeloma

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What types of specialists treat multiple myeloma?

Although the patient's primary-care doctor helps to manage the patient's care, the specialists involved often include an oncologist, hematology pathologist, radiologist, stem cell transplant specialist, and occasionally a surgeon (orthopedist and/or spine surgeon).

What is the prognosis for multiple myeloma?

The prognosis of multiple myeloma is variable, depending on the approximate stage and response to therapy. Though there is no cure for the disease, today's treatments are more effective and less toxic (have fewer side effects) than did many in the past. Life expectancy or survival ranges from about one to 10 years, with median survival of about three years with the five-year relative survival rate of 46.6%. Survival is higher in young people and lower in the elderly. Complications include early death due to infections (meningitis, septicemia, pneumonia), anemia, kidney failure, and a depressed immune system. Currently, multiple myeloma is considered to be a disease that is not preventable. Multiple myeloma is not a hereditary disease. Multiple myeloma is a focus of active ongoing research.

What support systems are available for multiple myeloma?

The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) can provide caregivers and patients information about many aspects of this disease. IMF's phone number is 1-800-452-2873. There are local, state, and national support groups for multiple myeloma.

REFERENCES:

"Multiple Myeloma." American Cancer Society. 12 Feb 2013.

"Multiple Myeloma Support Groups." The Myeloma Beacon.

"NCCN Guidelines." National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Fanning, Suzanne R., et al. "Monoclonal gammopathies of uncertain origin." Medscape. 12 Jun 2013.

Shah, Dhaval. "Multiple Myeloma." Medscape.com. Feb. 5, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/204369-overview>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2016

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