Is Multiple Myeloma Cancer Curable?

Reviewed on 8/14/2020

Is multiple myeloma cancer curable?

While multiple myeloma is not curable, treatment can help extend a person's life.
While multiple myeloma is not curable, treatment can help extend a person's life.

There is no cure for multiple myeloma. Treatment for multiple myeloma can only reduce the severity of its symptoms and extend the patient’s survival by a few months or two to three years. 

The best treatment for multiple myeloma varies from patient to patient and is often a combination of various therapies that include: 

What are the complications of multiple myeloma treatment?

Although the treatment for multiple myeloma helps reduce disease progression and the development of complications, treatment may itself produce certain complications.  These complications include:

How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?

It’s difficult to diagnose multiple myeloma early since there are no symptoms in its early stages. Early symptoms, if at all, are usually attributed to other diseases. Hence, multiple myeloma is often diagnosed based on certain tests, the patient’s symptoms, and the doctor’s physical exam of the patient. 

If symptoms suggest that a person might have multiple myeloma, more tests are done that include:

Other tests include:

What are the stages of multiple myeloma?

The International Staging System (ISS) is the most commonly used classification of multiple myeloma. It makes use of two tests: serum-beta-2 microglobulin (β2-M) and serum albumin.  

According to ISS, there are three stages of multiple myeloma:

  • Stage I: β2-M <3.5 mg/L with a serum albumin of 3.5 g/dL or more
  • Stage II: Either of these 2 criteria: β2-M between 3.5 mg/L and 5.5 mg/L or Albumin <3.5 g/dL
  • Stage III: β2-M >5.5 mg/L

This system has recently been revised to include serum LDH) and high-risk gene abnormalities (defined by the FISH test). This new system is called the revised-ISS (or R-ISS). 

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