Multiple Myeloma (cont.)
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.
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.
In this Article
- What is multiple myeloma?
- What causes multiple myeloma?
- What are risk factors for multiple myeloma?
- What are the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma?
- How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?
- What are the stages of multiple myeloma?
- What is the treatment for multiple myeloma?
- What is the prognosis for multiple myeloma?
- What support systems are available for multiple myeloma?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What are the stages of multiple myeloma?
There are four stages of multiple myeloma. While many doctors use different staging, these are various stages cited by many clinicians:
- Smoldering: Multiple myeloma with no symptoms
- Stage I: Early disease with some symptoms
- Stage II: Multiple symptoms and more advanced disease
- Stage III: Multiple areas with multiple myeloma cells and more serious symptoms
Because staging criteria differ according to different groups, some clinicians simply define the individual's multiple myeloma without assigning a stage and simply estimate a prognosis (see below) for their patient. In 2013, an international group divided stages into three stages based on two criteria, the concentration of beta-2-microglobulin and serum albumen levels; over time this defined criteria may become widely accepted.
What is the treatment for multiple myeloma?
There is no known treatment that cures multiple myeloma. However, there are methods to decrease the occurrence and severity of symptoms. The therapy is decided based upon the patient's condition and, in some individuals, the multiple myeloma stage and the interaction of the oncologist or cancer management team made with the patient's input.
Options for treatment include chemotherapy, radiation, immunosuppression, and surgery. The choices for treatment(s) often include combinations of the above techniques and combinations of chemotherapy drugs. Details of complicated treatment protocols can be found in the 2011 NCCN guidelines.
There are many drugs used to treat multiple myeloma. Research is ongoing and newer drugs are being investigated and used for treatment with some frequency. For example, a clinical trial in 2013 reported that lenalidomide produced a significant increase in survival of newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma. Most doctors that specialize in cancer treatment will be aware of these newest treatments for multiple myeloma.
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