What is Multiple Myeloma?
Q. Is multiple myeloma cancer curable?
Ans. Latest myeloma treatments have enhanced the living standard for myeloma patients. Not only better health but recent medical procedures ensured adding more number of years in the patient’s life. Although multiple myeloma does not yet have a complete cure, myeloma patients have a lot of options for not only treating myeloma, but managing the symptoms.
Q. What are the medical procedures or treatment options available for myeloma?
Ans. There is no standard therapy used by the doctors for multiple myeloma patients. Depending upon the exact medical and health condition of a person and stage of the disease, the consulting doctor determines the treatment option, best suitable for the patient.
Recently, there have been many researches in medical science field to treat all cancerous diseases hence many options are available for myeloma patients also. These treatments range from standard-dose chemotherapy, steroids, newer targeted agents (such as Revlimid, Thalomid and Velcade) as well as high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.
Some of these medications are taken orally, while others are given intravenously (by needle). Although each of these treatment approaches may be used alone, combinations of two or more anti-myeloma medications are commonly used.
Chemotherapy is generally used to treat multiple myeloma followed by stem cell transplants. Since this disease is not curable, different methods are used for treatment to enhance life quality and extend it further as much as possible.
Q. What is the follow-up procedure after myeloma treatment?
Ans. Once multiple myeloma patients receive personalised treatment especially designed for him/her as per the individual medical condition, follow up care is essential to keep a check on the treatment success.
Since it is evident that multiple myeloma never goes away completely, after care and proper timely check-up is an integral part of the treatment. Myeloma patients are given the treatments regularly such as chemotherapy, radiation and other therapies to manage the disease. Although for some patients there are times when doctors may suggest to stop taking medicines occasionally, most patients require medical help regularly.
In any case, follow up hospital visits are required so that the doctor can evaluate current condition and decide to continue, change or re-start the treatment option and procedure. This aftercare process helps the patient to avoid any possible complication that may occur and hamper routine life.
Q. Are there possible side effects from myeloma treatment?
Ans. Like all medical treatments, myeloma treatments also have side-effects. Some of these complications may last for a few weeks to several months, but others can be permanent.
Some patients may develop blood clots as a result of treatment with Revlimid or Thalomid in combination with steroids, if they are not treated prophylactically with anti-clotting agents. In addition, nerve problems (neuropathy) are associated with both Velcade and Thalomid.
While side effects are specific to each type of treatment, some of the common issues that may arise as a result of treatment are anemia, fatigue, infections, easy bruising and gastrointestinal problems (example diarrhea, constipation, nausea).
Q. How one can manage side effects of myeloma treatment?
Ans. As there are different treatment options used to treat the myeloma patient, side-effect on each individual also varies. There are a wide range of treatments strategies available to manage these side effects. If side effects are severe, the doctor may change or reduce the dose of the medicines or temporarily stop treatment.
Q. Is it possible to regrow the bone marrow?
Ans. Donors typically give about 2 to 3 percent of their marrow, which grows back within a few weeks.
Q. What is infiltration of bone marrow?
Ans. Multiple Myeloma (MM) cancer gets into bone marrow and causes anemia by disrupting erythropoiesis, but the effects of marrow infiltration on anemia are difficult to measure. At diagnosis, marrow area infiltrated by myeloma correlated negatively with haemoglobin, erythrocytes, and marrow erythroid cells.