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.

Quick GuideUnderstanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, and More

Understanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, and More

What are lifestyle and diet tips for people with multiple myeloma?

To stay healthy, lifestyle changes can help individuals with multiple myeloma. Giving up tobacco, reducing alcohol intake, eating better, and getting more exercise is recommended. Eating better may be difficult because of changes in your diet and tastes. After multiple myeloma treatments, it can be helpful to eat small meals about two to three hours apart until you feel as if you can eat a larger meal. During treatment, fitness or endurance and muscle strength can decline. For exercise, start slowly by taking short walks or getting involved with an exercise program that gradually increases without pushing the body too hard.

What is the prognosis for multiple myeloma? What is the survival rate 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. Multiple myeloma is a focus of active ongoing research. The median survival rate, beginning at the point of first treatment according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), according to stage of the disease is as follows:

  • Stage I, 62 months
  • Stage II, 44 months
  • Stage III, 29 months

However, the ACS suggests that with treatment improvements, current survival rates are likely better. Unfortunately, life expectancy after relapse averages about nine months.

Complications of multiple myeloma may include kidney insufficiency, bleeding disorders, bone problems like pathological fractures, hypercalcemia, and neurological problems (for example, spinal cord compression, intracranial plasmacytomas, and others).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2017

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