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Multiple Myeloma Treatment Centers- “High-Volume Cancer Centers”

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“…in which a community cancer center would work with a specialized high-volume cancer center (multiple myeloma treatment center) to develop an optimal drug treatment plan.”

You’ve been diagnosed with multiple myeloma (MM). Your head is spinning. All you and your caregiver can think about is killing your blood cancer and stabilizing any symptoms you may be experiencing.  The hospital you want to go to for your MM care many be a great facility but they may not be a “high-volume cancer center” as discussed in the article below meaning it is not one of the top multiple myeloma treatment centers.

That’s your first important challenge right there.

  • Multiple Myeloma is a rare cancer with annual diagnoses of less than 2% in the U.S.
  • MM specialists offer measurable improvements in overall survival
  • Centers that treat high-volumes of multiple myeloma patients are the best treatment centers according to research

Multiple myeloma is a marathon not a sprint. It is in your best interest to think long-term aka find a high-volume cancer center meaning centers that treat many MM patients annually. Studies show that high-volume hospitals are the best multiple myeloma treatment center.

After all, according to the article/study linked below, MM patients live better, longer lives when they at least consult with a MM specialist or seek care at a hospital with lots of MM experience.

I agree with Dr. Boffa. Multiple myeloma (MM) care must be coordinated by oncology. The community cancer center should work with myeloma specialists to figure out the best therapeutic approach for newly diagnosed MM patients.

For example, you may have established a working relationship with a local oncologist. However, you may want to get a second opinion from a multiple myeloma treatment centers. The list below is by no means exhaustive.

When I was first diagnosed with MM in early ’94, I spent months consulting with MM doctors. I asked my local oncologist to speak with a MM specialist named Brian Durie (Cedar Sinai).  The issue I had in mind was my dose of bisphosphonate therapy, but the idea was that my local oncologist really didn’t have the MM experience that I needed.

My point is that you can get develop a solid working relationship locally while consult with or coordinate with MM specialists and high-volume multiple myeloma treatment cancer centers for the long-term.

Have you been diagnosed with multiple myeloma? Do you have questions about MM specialists and high-volume MM centers?

Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Multiple Myeloma Patients Best Treated at Recognized Care Centers with High Volume, US Study Reports

Multiple myeloma patients treated in their community by local oncologists have poorer survival outcomes than those receiving care at centers that see large numbers of patients or are nationally recognized, and likely to have doctors with more experience in this disease, a study reports.

Its findings were based on patient data in a statewide resource, and supported treatment at high-volume facilities like those tied to universities, and those that are National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers…”

Myeloma Patients Treated at High-volume Facilities Have Lower Risk of Death, Study Finds

“Multiple myeloma (MM) patients treated at facilities that handle more patients may have better survival rates than those treated at lower-volume facilities, according to recent research…

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer, with approximately 30,000 new cases per year in the U.S. It is estimated that a hematologist-oncologist will see, on average, only two new and six established patients with myeloma annually. As a result, the clinical experience of a general hematologist-oncologist in the management of MM is likely to be limited compared with most other cancers.

Multiple Myeloma Survival Rates and Life Expectancy by Hospital and Specialist

  • MD Anderson
  • UAMS
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Mayo Clinic
  • The James – Ohio State University
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • University of Chicago
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Tapping Into the Therapeutic Expertise of High-Volume Cancer Centers

“As immunotherapies and other drug therapies proliferate, complicating care, several Canadian oncologists have recently posed a question: should patients be steered to get systemic treatment at high-volume centers?

For surgery, studies have consistently found a correlation between the number of complex operations a facility performs and better outcomes, including lower mortality rates, the physicians wrote in a recent editorial in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP).1 One 1998 landmark study they cited found that a patient’s likelihood of dying from an esophagectomy ranged from 3.4% at high-volume hospitals to 17.3% at low-volume hospitals…2

“The treatment of patients has become much more complex and thankfully, that’s associated with longer and better outcomes,” Dr Raphael said. “But it makes it much more difficult for the practicing oncologist to make sure that they’re providing optimal care for each patient.” Should oncologists, he asked, still be treating every type of malignancy in 2019…?

One-third of patients can be easily motivated to travel at least an hour further for a cancer operation once they learn about the safety and quality advantages of doing so, according to a study published in 2018 in JAMA Network Open. But 12% of the 1016 individuals surveyed were highly resistant to travel, and they were more likely to be nonwhite, lower-income patients, according to the study’s findings…3

Research shows that the postponement of therapeutic intervention in cancer is associated with inferior survival outcomes, Dr Raphael noted. “So [patients] may lose any benefit they might have accrued by going to that [high-volume] center.”

Since the United States operates on a fee-for-service model, patients couldn’t be mandated to use certain cancer centers, but rather, would have to choose them…

Instead, Dr Boffa envisions moving toward a better-coordinated approach, in which a community cancer center would work with a specialized high-volume center to develop an optimal drug treatment plan. “But the treatment doesn’t have to happen at that [high-volume] facility,” he added…

Dr Nichols acknowledged that this shift in care won’t happen organically. Insurers and/or regulatory entities will need to allow and encourage more consultations, including by telemedicine, with high-volume cancer centers..”



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