Recently Diagnosed or Relapsed? Stop Looking For a Miracle Cure, and Use Evidence-Based Therapies To Enhance Your Treatment and Prolong Your Remission

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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Multiple Myeloma Specialists- Why?

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Who are Multiple Myeloma Specialists and Why Should I care?

You’ve been diagnosed with incurable cancer. You’re trying to manage your emotions and perhaps the emotions of those closest to you. Going to a hematologist/oncologist seems like the best thing to do, right? Studies show that hematologists/oncologists who specialize in multiple myeloma provide much better overall survival statistics than non-specialists.

While the “Great Eight” MM specialists listed in the link above are extremely knowledgeable about MM and can surely provide you with above average MM care, the article linked and excerpted below may be more applicable to your situation.

In short, the article below estimates that the average hospital sees 6.1 myeloma patients annually. The “high volume” facilities treat 50 or more myeloma patients annually. 

When I was first diagnosed in ’94 I was treated by a general oncologist, a surgeon, a radiation oncologist and finally an oncologist specializing in autologous stem cell transplants. But no multiple myeloma specialist.

The list of FDA approved chemotherapies for multiple myeloma is long and growing. It is in your best interest to know the newest regimens, possible side effects in addition to evidence-based, non-toxic MM therapies.

It never occurred to me that there might be multiple myeloma specialists that might offer a different therapy or therapies. The therapies prescribed for me provided only brief remission. I cannot tell you if finding a different oncologist with different training might have made a difference. But I wish that I had gotten a different kind of second opinion.

To learn more about evidence-based therapies for Multiple Myeloma by watching the video below:

I am both a long-term multiple myeloma survivor and myeloma cancer coach.  To learn more about the Multiple Myeloma Coaching Program, click here.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Long-term MM survivor,
  • MM Cancer Coach,
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Related Articles:

Treatment at high-volume facilities linked to longer OS in multiple myeloma

“Treatment at higher-volume facilities may result in a lower risk for death in patients with multiple myeloma, according to a study published in Journal of Clinical Oncology…

Hematologist/oncologists are estimated to see an average of only two new and six established patients with multiple myeloma each year…

The researchers identified a median annual facility volume of 6.1 patients per year; only 18 facilities treated 50 or more new patients annually…”

Top Hospitals for 2014

Healthgrades America’s Best Hospitals is based solely on clinical quality outcomes and it rewards excellence over a multi-year time period. This premier distinction provides a measure of confidence for consumers. 

America’s 50 Best Hospitals are the top 1% of hospitals in the nation for providing overall clinical excellence across a broad spectrum of conditions and procedures consistently for a minimum of seven consecutive years.

America’s 100 Best Hospitals are the top 2% of hospitals in the nation for exhibiting clinical excellence for at least four consecutive years.

Best Hospitals 2014-15: Overview and Honor Roll

“Some hospitals are more expert than others in caring for patients with life-threatening or rare conditions. And people facing such health challenges need every bit of help they can get. That’s why U.S. News & World Report has published annual rankings of the nation’s Best Hospitals for the last quarter-century….”

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis- Work with the Best MM Specialists

“Patients who were treated for Multiple Myeloma at higher-volume facilities had a lower risk of mortality compared with those who were treated at lower-volume facilities.”

According to the ACS, less than 1% of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. annually are for multiple myeloma. Myeloma is a rare cancer. Therefore, relatively few oncologists have much experience with or know much about multiple myeloma.

When I was diagnosed in early 1994 I assumed my hospital was experienced in the type and stage of my cancer. I was wrong. There are more than 100 diffent types of cancer. Each type of cancer may exhibit 3 or 4 different stages. Each stage may exhibit dozens of different symptoms.

It is not a criticism of an oncologist to say that he/she may not be experienced with every type and stage of cancer.

Every newly diagnosed MM patient must work with or at least consult with a MM specialist.

Just like any other sort of expertise, law, academia, food, etc. the more experienced practitioner generally performs better. The articles linked and excerpted below explain:

  1. the importance of the individual MM specialist
  2. the importance of the treatment facility to the MMer
  3. how you may want to think about the person treating your MM

Let me try to bring these ideas down to an individual level. After all, it may be difficult to think about long-term overall survival statistics if you are a newly diagnosed myeloma patient.

First of all, don’t be intimidated by the idea of only eight MM specialists. The title “great eight” was coined years ago when the blogger, Gary Peterson, first began writing about MM specialists. The list of the great eight has grown to over 200 MM specialists spread all over the United States. Gary’s site contains a great deal of valuable information for MMers. I recommend spending time reading myelomasurvival.com.

Along the same lines, cancer centers with experience in treating MM have increased in number over the years as well. For example, when I was considering having my autologous stem cell transplant in 1995, only one local hospital had any bone marrow transplant experience at all. And no local cancer centers had much experience with ASCT for myeloma patients like me.

Most importantly, the newly diagnosed MMer does not need to physically go to see his or her MM specialist in order to learn what they have to say. For example, a top MM specialist named James Berenson consults with MMers over the phone frequently. Dr. Berenson can work with your local oncologist to prescribe those chemotherapy regimens at the frequency and doses that Dr. Berenson thinks are right for you and your stage.

Lastly and most importantly, it is essential for MMers to understand that conventional MM specialists can take you only so far. According to conventional oncology MM is incurable. I have lived in complete remission from my MM since 1999 by living an evidence-based, non-toxic, anti-MM lifestyle. To learn more about my story, click here.

Knowledge is power. To learn more about the full spectrum of options for myeloma treatment, plus evidence-based therapies proven to enhance treatment outcomes and protect your body from side effects please watch the short video below:

Recommended Reading:

Who are the GREAT EIGHT of Multiple Myeloma Specialists?

“Since this post was first published I have gotten a number of comments about specialists who were not selected. I also placed a lot of weight on those who had published or provided exceptional survival rates. I did this because I believe you can not manage that which you do not measure. However, many facilities that do not supply survival statistics use clinical trial results as a surrogate or substitute for actual survival data and treatment guidance.   I also did not allow more than one from each facility.  The most important takeaway for a myeloma patient is to have a myeloma specialist on your team, and you can find a listing of well over 200 if you CLICK HERE

Choosing A Multiple Myeloma Specialist

“Looking back, I now realize that I developed a set of six questions that I eventually used to select my new multiple myeloma specialist.

  1. Is the doctor a Teller or an Asker?
  2. Is the doctor well established?
  3. Does the doctor have ties to the area?
  4. Is the doctor certified in hematology?
  5. Is the doctor covered by your insurance?
  6. How much are you willing to do to get the doctor you want?

Association Between Treatment Facility Volume and Mortality of Patients With Multiple Myeloma

“Purpose- To determine the association between the number of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) treated annually at a treatment facility (volume) and all-cause mortality (outcome)…

“The United States offers the best cancer care in the world. But there is no guarantee that all Americans who need superb cancer care actually receive it. That’s because there are significant differences in cancer care between cancer centers. People treated in one place may not live as long as they would have had they sought treatment elsewhere.

Today, about 85 percent of cancer patients in the US are treated in their local communities. This works out for a lot of them. After all, many people have cancers that are relatively common, with treatments that have become so routine, so standardized, their chance of kicking it is pretty good — no matter where they seek care…

A new study focusing on the medical management of multiple myeloma, the same blood cancer I have, adds to the knowledge base that patients treated by experienced physicians fare better. It compared survival rates among patients with multiple myeloma treated at centers with different numbers of patients with this condition. Compared with centers treating just 10 or fewer patients per year, centers that treated 20, 30, and 40 patients per year had approximately 10 percent, 15 percent, and 20 percent lower overall mortality rates during the study period. This held true even when researchers took into consideration sociodemographic and geographic factors and whether patients had other conditions that could affect their health.

While not particularly surprising, these data are troubling when considered in a larger context of just how rare myeloma is compared to, say, breast cancer or prostate cancer. This year, about 30,000 Americans will learn they have multiple myeloma, a disease for which there is no cure. (That’s less than two percent of the nearly 1.7 million Americans who are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.) With 13,000 hematologists and oncologists in practice today, the average one will see only two patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma each year and six living with the disease. Some physicians, of course, will see more, while many others will see fewer…”


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