Multiple myeloma patients have compromised immune system which causes weakening and damage to the bones. The abnormal plasma cells produced during multiple myeloma, outweigh the healthy red blood cells and white blood cells resulting in anemia, leucopenia and thrombocytopenia.
Does Multiple Myeloma Go Into Remission?
Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation, target therapy, etc., destroy multiple myeloma cells and there are chances of remission as well. During this phase there will not be any signs and symptoms of cancer. The relapsed multiple myelomas occur after remission. (1)
Detection of cancer in itself is distressing, the survival rate and quality of life will depend upon the prognosis of the diseases. Once there is complete treatment, the threat of remission or relapse is quite common. The patients will be advised for regular check-ups to check for spread or progression of the disease. Some people are advised to get chemotherapy or radiation therapy to keep the cancer in control. The relapsing and remitting form of cancer is difficult to treat which adds to emotional stress. The follow-up treatment is quite important, your doctor will ask for symptoms, request for blood test, CT scan, X-rays, etc. The aim of follow-up treatment is to check spread, if further treatment is required and side effect profile. Most cancer treatment comes with side-effects, inform your doctor about the side-effects, as it will help Docs to advise medications to control side-effects. The symptoms can last for few days to several months depending upon the general health status. Your doctor will definitely schedule for follow-up exams and tests for early detection (screening) of second cancers, long-term effects of cancer treatment, etc. Your doctor will advise you the symptoms to be watched, time to contact doctor, healthy diet and exercise. (2)
When there are remissions or relapses, the prognosis will depend upon the location of the cancer, the last treatment profile and your current health status. The possibility of second cancer, a different unrelated cancer is also high. The survivals of multiple myeloma can have acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). (3)
When your doctor says you have remission of multiple myeloma, that means, you are no longer cancer-free. This is not the end of survival rate; it requires correct combination of the drugs for definite duration of time to avoid progression of the disease. The relapsing multiple myeloma may require an entirely different treatment than the previous drugs. Multiple myeloma relapse can happen more than once. It will be devastating to learn about the relapses, you need emotional and psychological support from family and friends which helps to recover faster. There can be a number of causes for relapses. During remission there will not be any symptoms of multiple myeloma, but there will be abnormal form of plasma cells. It is not possible for cancer treatment to kill each and every cancer. (4)
One cannot define duration of remission. The body can remain in the remission phase for infinite period depending upon the stage of cancer, the chemo or radiation therapy, health status, age and genetics. Patients will be emotionally unstable finding it difficult to concentrate on studies, work, plan or think. There can be physical limitations like side-effects of maintenance therapy, etc. In multiple myeloma, there will be bone damage resulting in fracture and broken bones, doctors will prescribe medications to strengthen bones.
Remissions are common in multiple myeloma, the patients are advised to follow the routine appointments and take tests (blood, imaging, urine) for early detection of relapses. Take good care of health by self-care, eating healthily, rest and physical activity. The remissions can be partial or full. Partial remissions can be diagnosed with tests which indicate presence of fewer cancer cells, full remissions are proper cancers.
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