Is Multiple Myeloma A Death Sentence?

Multiple myelomas are cancer of plasma cells. These cells are responsible for the production of antibodies which fight against the infection and strengthen the immune system. But people suffering from multiple myeloma have plasma cells which produce faulty antibodies. Multiple myeloma can be classified into two subtypes depending upon the number of chromosomes in the plasma cells, hyperdiploid and hypodiploid. Hyperdiploid is a less aggressive form of the disease which has more than the normal number of chromosomes. It can be seen in 45% of the multiple myeloma population. Hypodiploid is an aggressive form of the disease which has less than the normal number of chromosomes. It can be seen in 40% of the multiple myeloma population.

Myeloma is of different types, light chain myeloma, non-secretory myeloma, solitary plasmacytoma (a tumor of plasma cells is formed in the bone or other tissues, if there are more than one Plasmacytoma then it is called as multiple myeloma), extramedullary plasmacytoma (the tumor is formed in the soft tissues of the body such as throat, sinuses, nose, and larynx), Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS), Smoldering Multiple Myeloma (SMM) (precancerous form of myeloma), Immunoglobulin D (IgD) Myeloma and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Myeloma.

Is Multiple Myeloma A Death Sentence?

In the United States, Multiple myelomas hold the second position after non-Hodgkin lymphoma, as the most common blood cancer. Approx. 1 in every 132 individuals is at risk of developing multiple myeloma. It is estimated that people diagnosed with multiple myeloma have a survival rate of 5 years in 50% of cases. The people who are diagnosed with multiple myeloma at an early stage will have a higher survival rate of up to 72%. In case cancer has metastasized to different parts of the body, the survival rate further decreases. There seems to be a steady increase in the survival rates because of awareness among people and most importantly availability of the effective treatment options. (1)

The factors which determine the prognosis of multiple myeloma are the stage at the time of diagnosis and the response to treatment. There is no complete treatment for multiple myeloma, but the medicines can help in further progression and regression of the disease. The newer chemotherapy options have lesser side-effects. (2)

The treatment to be initiated for the patient depends upon the stage of the disease. Average survival rates for the patients depending upon the stage are 5 years for stage I, 4 years for stage II and 2 years for stage III. In the case of multiple myeloma relapse the survival rates drastically decrease to up to 9 months. (3)

There are no preventive measures which can be taken and also there is no cure for the same. Home remedies should be used along with the chemotherapy for better outcomes rather than depending only on home remedies. Do inform your doctor about home remedies. (4)

The patients’ response to the treatment depends on the person’s age and general health. People with a weak immune system and health status are likely to worsen their health status. Younger people are likely to have a better prognosis than the older age group. Although there is no treatment for multiple myeloma it is a fairly manageable disease to increase the life expectancy. The prognostic factors signs, symptoms, and circumstances determine how fast cancer has progressed and further course of disease after treatment most of the cancer cells die, but few cells remain to cause Minimal residual disease and are responsible for relapse. Most multiple myeloma patients have relapsed at some point in life.

Conclusion

Multiple myeloma is one of the common blood cancers which affect the survival rates. There is no cure for multiple myeloma. The treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms of the disease and decreasing the progression. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 5 years which has been increased since the recent past because of the advancement of science. The aggressive form of the disease should be attended immediately to improve the survival rate.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5283695/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5223450/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4571791/
  4. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/7108/multiple-myeloma

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