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 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).

Is it possible to prevent multiple myeloma?

Because the risk factors for multiple myeloma are not fully understood, it is not a preventable disease. Currently, there is no cure for the disease. Even some individuals who recommend herbal home remedies like cayenne peppers suggest the herbals are used with drugs. Individuals should discuss the use of home remedies with their doctor before use.

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:

American Cancer Society. "Multiple Myeloma." <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/multiplemyeloma/>.

"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 9/22/2016

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