Prognosis for Bone Marrow Cancer
Bone marrow cancer or multiple myeloma is a non-curable disease but its symptoms can be managed with chemotherapy. The prognosis of the disease, as in any cancer, depends on the diagnosed stage. Some facts relevant to bone marrow cancer prognosis are:
- The patient’s age.
- The impact on the body due to damage caused by cancer cells.
- Kind of treatment undertaken by the patient.
- Patient’s general health condition.
- As with other cancers, this cancer can be treated if diagnosed early.
- African-Americans are at a 30 per cent increased risk of developing this cancer compared to their Caucasian counterparts.
- Although the survival rate of bone cancer patients is low, it has improved recently with the advancement in medicines and development of the technique of cell transplantation.
As per the statistics available from the International Staging System of cancers, multiple myeloma has a survival rate of 62 months for first stage patients, 45 months for second stage patients, and 29 months for third stage patients. This also varies based on the type of treatment undergone, and conventional treatment methods can make a person survive for 3-4 years while advanced techniques can help them live for 5-6 years.
Some of the techniques on which the prognosis of bone marrow cancer depends are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, bone marrow transplants, nutrition therapy, treatment with naturopathic medicine and spiritual counselling. High dose therapy along with stem cell transplantation has improved the prognosis and when an estimate was made in 2003, the survival rate was found to be 4.5 years compared to 3.5 years with conventional procedures.
The average age of the onset of multiple myeloma is 70 years and the prognosis of every patient is bound to vary, as it does in other diseases. It is natural that prognosis would decline with age as older patients suffer from some serious diseases which influence their chances of survival. For the estimation of survival, some oncologists even employ methods of genetic testing. They evaluate the risk of the cancer returning after treatment. So, the high or low risk of the disease has some genetic basis too.
There are close to 45000 people in the USA who are living with bone marrow cancer. According to the estimates of the American Cancer society, around 14600 new patients are added to this number every year in the country. The incidence of the disease is highest in Caucasians while in Asians, it is the lowest.
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Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team May 18, 2012
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