A multiple myeloma cancer diagnosis is not the easiest thing to hear. Once you’ve received the diagnosis, you must shift focus from identifying the problem to treating it. Because everyone is different, you may require a different method of treatment than someone else with multiple myeloma.
What Factors Determine Your Treatment Method?
Because multiple myeloma treatments must be tailored for each unique individual, to get the best possible results for each purpose, a number of factors are used to help determine which type of treatment approach will work best. These are a few of the factors that might impact which treatment method for multiple myeloma is prescribed for you.
- Your age at the time of diagnosis.
- Your overall state of health – conditions you may have in addition to or along with multiple myeloma.
- Complications of your multiple myeloma – specifically kidney disease, anemia, and infections.
- Symptoms you’re experiencing.
- The stage of your multiple myeloma when diagnosed.
- Your prognosis.
- Results of laboratory testing and physical examinations.
- How well or poorly you’ve responded to prior treatments.
- New treatments and technologies as they come along – even the ability to participate in clinical trials.
Whenever possible, it is important to consider using the latest treatment for multiple myeloma that is available that might be relevant for you. Stay on top of the latest research to see if new clinical trials or advances are worth considering.
What Types of Myeloma Treatment are Available?
Below you will find some of the more common forms of multiple myeloma treatment options available currently. You may be prescribed one or more of these methods of treatment according to the stage of your condition and the prognosis.
Observation – generally prescribed at all stages of the condition and with every prognosis, observation allows physicians to take note of how you are responding to the myeloma as well as how you are responding to various treatments. It may involve laboratory tests, physical examinations, and more.
Radiation Therapy – uses high energy x-ray particles to seek out and destroy cancer cells within the body. This is typically reserved for more severe cases that have not responded to other forms of treatment like chemotherapy.
Corticosteroids – steroids are often prescribed for both their anti-inflammatory properties and for their ability to treat certain effects of myeloma. They may also be prescribed in conjunction with chemotherapy to help relieve some of the symptoms.
Chemotherapy – often prescribed to treat multiple myeloma you may be prescribed traditional chemotherapy treatments or your doctor may feel a more aggressive, high-dose chemotherapy treatment is in order.
Stem Cell Transplants – most often used in concert with high-dose chemotherapy, the goal is to reduce the number of myeloma cells in the body and then treat by replacing stem cells from your own bone marrow with those of another donor (or your own healthy stem cells if available).
The following are among other treatment options your physician may consider:
- Bisphosphonate Treatments
- Immunomodulatory Agents
- Proteasome Inhibitors
- Monoclonal Antibodies
Ultimately, you must work with your physician to determine the best course of multiple myeloma treatment for you. Discuss your options. Weigh them well so you can make an informed decision about your treatment needs.