Multiple Myeloma (cont.)
In this Article
- What is multiple myeloma?
- What are multiple myeloma causes and risk factors?
- What are multiple myeloma symptoms and signs?
- How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?
- What are multiple myeloma stages?
- What is the treatment for multiple myeloma?
- What are methods of treatment for multiple myeloma?
- What supportive care can patients with multiple myeloma require?
- What happens after treatment for multiple myeloma?
- What support is available for cancer patients?
- What other resources are available to multiple myeloma patients?
- Multiple Myeloma At A Glance
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
You'll need regular checkups after treatment for multiple myeloma. Checkups help ensure that any changes in your health are noted and treated if needed. If you have any health problems between checkups, you should contact your doctor.
Your doctor will check for return of cancer. Even when the cancer seems to have been completely destroyed, the disease sometimes returns because undetected myeloma cells remained somewhere in the body after treatment. Also, checkups help detect health problems that can result from cancer treatment.
Checkups may include a careful physical exam, blood tests, x-rays, or bone marrow biopsy.
You may want to ask your doctor these questions after you have finished treatment:
Sources of support
Learning you have myeloma can change your life and the lives of those close to you. These changes can be hard to handle. It's normal for you, your family, and your friends to have new and confusing feelings to work through.
Concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family, keeping your job, or continuing daily activities.
Here's where you can go for support:
- Doctors, nurses, and other members of your health care team can answer many of your questions about treatment, working, or other activities.
- Social workers, counselors, or members of the clergy can be helpful if you want to talk about your feelings or concerns. Often, social workers can suggest resources for financial aid, transportation, home care, or emotional support.
- Support groups can also help. In these groups, patients or their family members meet with other patients or their families to share what they have learned about coping with the disease and the effects of treatment. Groups may offer support in person, over the telephone, or on the Internet. You may want to talk with a member of your health care team about finding a support group.
- Information specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER and at LiveHelp (http://www.cancer.gov/help) can help you locate programs, services, and publications. They can give you names of national organizations that offer services to people with cancer and their families.
Taking part in cancer research
Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.
Research already has led to advances in treatment, such as stem cell transplants. And doctors continue to look for better ways to treat myeloma.
Researchers are testing new drugs and drug combinations. They are also testing ways to improve stem cell transplants for people with multiple myeloma.
Even if people in a trial do not benefit directly, they still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about myeloma and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, doctors do all they can to protect their patients.
NCI's Web site includes a section on clinical trials at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials. It has general information about clinical trials as well as detailed information about specific ongoing studies of myeloma. Information specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER or at LiveHelp at http://www.cancer.gov/help can answer questions and provide information about clinical trials.
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