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Multiple Myeloma Treatment- Control Costs to Improve Your Survival

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“However, 5-year survival rates remain below 50% with a single course of drug therapy (for multiple myeloma) costing between $75,000 and $250,000…”

A multiple myeloma (MM) diagnosis is emotionally difficult. MM is incurable, according to conventional oncology. Unfortunately, a MM diagnosis also means money and lots of it. Whether you partial remission, very good partical remission, complete remission, even minimal residual disease,  all roads lead to debt town. Controlling the expense of your multiple myeloma treatment can help you live longer according to the studies linked below.

Even if you have great health insurance, a diagnosis of multiple myeloma will cost you dearly for years to come. Co-pays, deductibles? Forget it. And if your health insurance company rejects a therapy for being experimental? If you can learn to control your cancer costs you will live a happier, longer life.

The studies linked and excerpted below puts specific numbers on specific therapies.

I achieved complete remission from my incurable blood cancer, multiple myeloma in 1999. I have remained in complete remission ever since. Yes, I have my blood work checked regularly. I even pay out-of-pocket for many blood tests that I consider important to managing my MM.

The solution? Evidence-based complementary and integrative multiple myeloma therapies. Many are more effective than conventional therapies. The catch? Understanding and effort. You have to learn what therapies may help you, based on your MM symptoms and your stage at diagnosis.

And you can’t expect your oncologist to tell you anything about therapies that are not evaluated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He/she focuses on conventional cancer therapies. Non-conventional (not approved by the FDA) is not what conventional oncology does.

The ironic thing is that many evidence-based, non-conventional and integrative  therapies will enhance the efficacy of your chemo while they reduce the toxicity. Consider a “less is more” approach to cancer.

If this sounds too good to be true, please scroll down the page, post a question or a comment about your cancer, your stage and what therapies you are thinking about and I will reply ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Long-term MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Study Examines Cost-Effectiveness in Multiple Myeloma Treatments

“Historically, 2 drugs—bortezomib (BOR) and lenalidomide (LEN)—have been used in combination with dexamethasone (DEX) to treat MM. However, 5-year survival rates remain below 50% with a single course of drug therapy costing between $75,000 and $250,000. There has not been an evaluative of the cost effectiveness of other drugs used to treat following relapse, including pomalidomide (POM), carfilzomib (CFZ), ixazomib (IX), daratumumab (DAR), elotuzumab (ELO), and panobinostat (PAN).

“The availability of effective treatment options for MM patients is of paramount importance,” the authors wrote. “However, in an era of continuing increases in healthcare spending and drug prices, it is also important to understand the relationship between costs and outcomes achieved….”

Economic burden of cancer extends into survivorship

“The economic burden of cancer extends beyond diagnosis and treatment, and concludes that cancer survivors face thousands of dollars of excess medical expenses every year, a new study concludes. Researchers found the total annual economic burden per nonelderly cancer survivor was $20,238 for colorectal, $14,202 for breast, and $9,278 for prostate cancer. Elderly cancer survivors also bear significant total economic burden (colorectal: $18,860; breast: $14,351; prostate: $16,851)…

Our results are most up-to-date and nationally representative. We found that the economic burden varies by cancer site and age. These side-by-side cancer site specific medical expenditures and productivity losses among both non-elderly and elderly cancer survivors are important to better understand the needs of survivors, prioritize cancer survivorship programs, and monitor the impact of public health policies such as the Affordable Care Act.””


Leave a Comment:

Carolyn says 7 years ago

I have MM (2years). I had a SCT on 9/15, was in remission ( no M spike for 9 months) but now have an m spike .32.
I was on a clinical trial (at Dana Farber, Boston, MA) with Dex., revlimid, and carfilzamib for 16 months. My wbc and neutrofil levels have been so low I have had IVIG and many neupogin shots. Right now I am in transition before going on a Rev maitenance program (5mg) for 21 days off 7 days.
I recently went to a naturalpathic oncologist and he recommends changes to my diet>>no fruit , starches, dairy, no processed foods, no sugar. Eating veg. and plant protein and a lot of very expensive supplements. One is melatonin which is very controversial for MM. I am so confused right now as there is so much conflicting information out there. I also have the high risk gene from the FISH test. Can you help????

    David Emerson says 7 years ago

    Hi Carolyn-

    I am sorry for your MM diagnosis and I understand how MM can be so confusing. Yes, there is lots of conflicting info out there. I have to be honest and admit that I admire many of the MM docs at Dana-Farber. I’ve met with and have been following Ken Anderson for years now. I think he is a great guy. We do disagree on many aspects of MM treatment however. We just see the world of MM from very different perspectives.

    My approach to MM is based on my own experience and years of research. I think that MM is complicated and aggressive enough (especially with genetic abnormalities) that the best of both conventional (Dana-Farber) and evidence-based, non-conventional therapies must be used to manage MM for the long-term.

    Low-dose Revlimid maintenance therapy is a good example. The MM Cancer Coaching program that I admin. with clients enhances this conventional therapy with MM starving nutrition, supplementation, bone health, lifestyle and mind-body therapies. All based on research.

    I will email you the MM CC program Introduction after I send this reply. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Hang in there,

    David Emerson

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