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If you are a multiple myeloma (MM) survivor you understand chemoradiation therapy’s short-term physical side effects. Most of us lose our hair during chemo and it usually grows back. You may even have experience with some of the long-term side effects such as chemo brain, cataracts, blood clots or peripheral neuropathy. But have you ever wondered about mind-body side effects of living with multiple myeloma?
Various late-stage side effects can hit you 15, 20 years or more after your original MM diagnosis. I developed chronic atrial fibrillation 15 years after my induction therapy in ’95. I was diagnosed with an incurable blood called multiple myeloma in early 1994. It took me awhile to figure it out but I came to realize that managing my emotional health was every bit as important and as difficult as managing my physical health.
To learn more about long-term psychological side effects of MM such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) scroll down the page and post your questions or comments.
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“As more individuals survive cancer, it is important to understand how cancer and cancer therapies affect long-term quality of life and psychological adjustment.”
There are over 14 million cancer survivors in the US today (2015). This number will increase by about 1 million cancer survivors annually. Identifying the mental and physical problems may help us manage them- helping us to live better, longer lives.
“After adjustment for other clinical and socio-demographic variables, long-term survivors who were younger, were unmarried, had less than a high school education, were uninsured, had more co-morbidities or had difficulty performing instrumental activities of daily living were more likely to experience serious psychological distress…”
A cancer diagnosis is always difficult. However, according to this study, the older you are if you are diagnosed with cancer, the better off you are. As we have discussed many times on PeopleBeatingCancer, having a caregiver helps in many ways. I have always believed that education helps understand the many complicated issues of cancer. Chemo brain, cataracts, nerve damage, irritable bladder, chronic A-Fib, chronic blood clot (some of my side effects) pain of any kind-all of these can make it difficult to live with cancer.
“Cancer diagnosis and treatment can produce delayed detrimental effects on physical health and functioning such as secondary cancers, cardiac dysfunction, lung dysfunction, infertility, neurological complications and neurocognitive dysfunction,” they write. “A cancer history can also affect social adaptation, employment opportunities and insurance coverage. Adjusting to these functional and life limitations may create long-term psychological stress.”
PBC is dedicated to identifying the physical side effects caused by chemotherapy. But I never have talked about identifying psychological side effects like social adaptation, employment opportunities and insurance coverage. By identifying who is at risk and what they may be at risk for may help to identify ways to heal the psychological issues.