What are the Treatments of Multiple Myeloma?
Call your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of multiple myeloma, especially frequent infections, bone pain, frequent nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding after minor cuts, easy bruising or unusual fatigue. People older than 50 should be especially alert to these symptoms.
[Read: What is Multiple Myeloma?]
Curing the illness is an option while it might not always be a possibility. Controlling the disease to ensure better quality of life is the other option. While undergoing treatment, it is essential to know whether the doctor believes in curing or controlling.
Depending on the extent of the illness and the stage of the cancer, various treatments can be prescribed. Some of them are:
- Standard Chemotherapy: standard chemotherapy is known to completely remit the diseased cells. This kind of treatment usually brings the cancer under control.
- Bone Marrow Transplant: bone marrow transplants are also not curative, however, are known to have prolonged better quality of life in patients suffering from multiple myeloma.
- Prescribed drugs such as corticosteroids: these drugs are usually used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation.
Correct time to start treatment
Certain individuals who display symptoms of early Myeloma, also called as ‘smoldering myeloma’ are usually advised to wait for years before they can be start chemotherapy. Some individuals develop a state called ‘Monoclonal Gammopathy’ of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) that may never develop into full blown multiple myeloma and hence will not require treatment, although long term follow up tests might be advisable.
When the symptoms discussed above are experienced and develop over time it is absolutely necessary to start on either of the above mentioned treatments. In the case of most cancers, the patient undergoes tremendous emotional duress and strain. In times like these, a sturdy emotional support built by family, friends and medical personnel is of great assistance in helping the patient cope with the illness.
Multiple myeloma varies widely between people in its severity and progression. Some people with multiple myeloma will live for years with minimal symptoms. Others have rapid progression of life-threatening multiple myeloma. Identifying the forms of multiple myeloma is often challenging for doctors. Overall, about 29% of patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma live more than five years after diagnosis.
Read more articles on Cancer.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Apr 19, 2013
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