Multiple Myeloma an incurable disease, but I have spent the last 25 years in remission using a blend of conventional oncology and evidence-based nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle therapies from peer-reviewed studies that your oncologist probably hasn't told you about.
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Myeloma outcomes vary widely. Invariably, the first thing that newly diagnosed patients want to know is the average outcome. But there is no average myeloma outcome.
The second thing that newly diagnosed myeloma patients think of is treatment aka chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation. While these FDA approved, conventional therapies are central to every outcome, in my experience, conventional therapies are only one piece of the myeloma picture.
When the study linked and excerpted below arrived in my in-box, I thought it would make a good starting place to discuss myeloma outcomes. In addition, I linked five of the most popular blog posts from PeopleBeatingCancer that deal with the issue of myeloma outcomes.
As you will read, the issue relies on many factors.
The takeaway is not that you, the newly diagnosed myeloma patient, has little control over your life expectance. Myeloma outcomes do depend on both your conventional as well as evidence-based non-conventional therapies. Some factors may be out of your control. However, many factors will definitely be in your control.
Have you been diagnosed with multiple myeloma? What stage? What symptoms are you experiencing? Let me know and I will reply to your questions ASAP.
Hang in there,
“Patients, when discussing multiple myeloma (MM), will want to know ways to mitigate the possibility of negative outcomes and improve their odds of survival. From 2012 to 2018, the 5-year survival rate for people diagnosed with MM was 57%.¹
A variety of factors can play a role in MM patients’ outcomes, and patients and health care professionals alike should be aware of these factors. Frailty, bone disease, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and mood disorders can all affect outcomes and should be discussed with MM patients.
Since MM is more likely to affect older patients, conditions that have an impact on the health of geriatric patients should be considered. One example is frailty, which presents unique challenges when dealing with MM.
In a 2021 review in Current Opinion in Oncology, researchers examined the need for frailty scores for individualized MM treatment, noting that while overall survival in MM has improved, frail patients remain at risk of shorter overall survival and progression-free survival.² This is due, in large part, to their increased risk of experiencing adverse events, particularly when they are overtreated. Having a better understanding of a patient’s frailty can lead to a more targeted treatment regimen that accounts for their risk of adverse events.
Bone disease is a common comorbidity to appear after MM develops. Per a 2022 study in Cells, nearly half of patients who experience bone disease in MM will have a skeletal-related event that can increase mortality risk by 20% to 40%.³ These skeletal-related events can include pathological fractures and spinal cord compression. Being vigilant in looking for bone disease can lead to early detection and treatment. Osteoclast inhibitors have shown the potential to lower the risk of adverse skeletal-related events and increase the likelihood of bone resorption.
As patients with MM tend to be older, they are more likely to have existing comorbidities. One such comorbidity is cardiovascular disease, a condition that may affect outcomes if it exists prior to diagnosis and if it develops later on.
In 2022, a study was published in Annals of Hematology that examined comorbidities in patients diagnosed with MM in Finland. The investigators found cardiovascular disease to be a common comorbidity in these patients.⁴ When examining patients from 2005 to 2016, 27.9% of those with comorbidities presented with cardiovascular disease in the year prior to diagnosis, while 4.8% had experienced a major adverse cardiac event. At 2 years post-diagnosis, those numbers increased to 57.1% and 11.4%, respectively. The researchers also found that older male patients were at a higher risk of major cardiac events and mortality.
Renal complications can also affect outcomes in MM. A 2017 study in Cancer Medicine, which included patients diagnosed with MM from 2005 to 2012, revealed an increased incidence of renal disease as a registered comorbidity.⁵ In patients with MM who were diagnosed with moderate and severe renal disease, the 5-year survival rate was just 24%.
Patients with MM have a heightened risk of mood disorders and psychiatric conditions. As a 2018 study in Blood Advances showed, an estimated one-third of patients with cancer experience mood disorders as a comorbidity.⁶ These mood disorders are often associated with worse outcomes and an increase in medical costs.
A large part of the risk with MM is that treatment often includes corticosteroids, which bring an increased risk of psychiatric complications. This, combined with the stress of dealing with a serious illness and the high existing costs of cancer treatments, can compound and increase the risk of mood disorders. Mental health is something health care professionals should focus on when working with patients.