What I wish I knew about Multiple Myeloma treatments 25 years later...

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Add’l Diseases @ Diagnosis Affect Multiple Myeloma OS-

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“We found higher-impact and lower-impact multimorbidity clusters among older veterans with newly-diagnosed Multiple Myeloma treated with chemotherapy.”

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM) at the age of 34. I underwent 6 rounds of a triplet induction chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant in 1995 at the age of 35. I was young, fit and could barely climb the three flights of stairs to my apartment when I came home from the hospital.

I cannot imagine what the same therapy would do to the average MM patient (67 yr.) much less a MM patient with one or two “comorbidities” aka diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

If you are a newly diagnosed MM patient, over the age of 60, with one or two other diseases (comorbidities), the article linked and excerpted below is the single strongest arguement I can think of for undergoing as little toxicity as possible. Chemotherapy and radiation are toxic. Toxicity kills. 

I’m not saying that newly diagnosed MM patients shouldn’t undergo any chemotherapy/radiation at all. While FDA approved MM regimens are often high dose, there is no reason why your oncologist can’t lower the dose or reduce the number of cycles the patient undergoes.

More importantly, there are a host of evidence-based but non-toxic theraies that MM patients can undergo. Nutrition, supplementation, moderate exercise, pre-habilitation, and others can support the newly diagnosed MMer to avoid toxicity.

Have you been diagnosed with MM? Do you have comorbidities? Scroll down the page, post  a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Multimorbidity May Affect Survival Rates of Patients With Multiple Myeloma

“The majority of older adults carry 2 or more chronic conditions,” researchers said…

Data were gathered from the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. A total of 7815 patients at least 60 years of age who were diagnosed with and treated for MM were identified. Researchers searched for 53 CMS-defined chronic and disabling conditions from claims filed by patients 3 years prior to their MM diagnosis…

Researchers identified 6 multimorbidity clusters at the time of MM diagnosis. Of the cohort,

  • 2011 patients, or 25.7%, had cardiovascular disease
  • 1820 patients, or 23.3%, had diabetes and complications
  • 1302 patients, or 16.7%, had minimal disease
  • 992 patients, or 12.7%, had multisystem impairment
  • 931 patients, or 11.9%, had psychiatric and substance use disorders
  • 759 patients, or 9.7%, had chronic lung disease

Researchers determined that specific comorbidities had varying effects on survival rates of patients with MM:

  • patients with minimal disease had the highest rates of survival, with a median survival of 4.5 years and a 47.5% chance of surviving 5 years
  • patients with multisystem impairment had the lowest survival rates, with a median survival of 2.4 years and a 24.3% chance of surviving 5 years
  • after adjusting for covariates, patients with clusters of chronic lung disease, psychiatric and substance use, and multisystem impairment had higher likelihood of early death than patients with minimal disease

“We found higher-impact and lower-impact multimorbidity clusters among older veterans with newly-diagnosed MM treated with chemotherapy. Unique combinations of chronic diseases may interact with MM itself to drive differences in mortality,” researchers concluded.


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