How Long a Person Can Live With Multiple Myeloma?

Reviewed on 8/14/2020

How long can a person live with multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the bone marrow.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of bone marrow. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside the long bones. 

In this cancer, plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) accumulate in the bone marrow, giving rise to tumors in multiple bones of the body. Normal plasma cells make antibodies that help the body fight against infection and various diseases. An increase in the number of multiple myeloma cells crowds out the normal cells and destroys them.

Multiple myeloma is discovered through routine blood screening when patients are being evaluated for other problems such as frequent infections. 

Since 2000, the percentage of patients living five years after diagnosis has been on the rise. With improved treatment, survival results are likely to be better. 

According to the American Cancer Society, the median survival rates are as follows:

Multiple Myeloma Survival Rates
Revised international staging system Median survival
Stage I 62 months (5 years, 2 months)
Stage II 42 months (3.5 years)
Stage III 29 months (2 years, 5 months)

Remember, these survival rates are only estimates. They cannot predict the exact period you can live with multiple myeloma. How long you can survive depends upon your body’s response to cancer therapy. Discuss with your doctor to better understand your specific situation.

What are the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma can be without symptoms, with multiple symptoms or can have complications that require emergent treatment. Presenting signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma include the following:

Multiple myeloma can cause hypercalcemia (increased blood calcium levels) whose signs and symptoms are:

In one-third of patients, multiple myeloma is diagnosed after the patient complains of frequent fractures. Two-thirds of patients complain of bone pain, commonly lower back pain

What causes multiple myeloma?

The exact cause of multiple myeloma is unknown. But you are at slightly higher risk if you have:

Contact with chemicals used in rubber manufacturing, woodworking, or firefighting or in herbicides


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What are the complications of multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma can cause such problems as the following:

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