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Myeloma, Disabilities, Co-morbidities

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Myeloma, disabilities, co-morbidities. These three words are often intertwined. Your parent or grandparent has been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma. You may be wondering how much caregiving you need to plan for.

Do you consider this newly diagnosed myeloma patient to be “elderly” or “”frail?” Does this person have co-morbidities?

The study linked below illustrates a useful indicator about elderly myeloma patients. According to research, those MM patients who have had home health (HH) during the 12 months prior to a MM diagnosis are more likely to die of MM.

A couple of relevant facts-

My conventional MM treatment in the late nineties led to a series of disabling long-term side effects for me. In short, I am disabled. I can relate to what the study below is saying.

What are some common co-morbidities of newly diagnosed myeloma patients?

  1. Renal Dysfunction: Impaired kidney function is a frequent complication of myeloma due to the accumulation of abnormal proteins produced by the cancer cells.
  2. Anemia: Myeloma can lead to a decrease in red blood cell production, causing anemia, which can exacerbate fatigue and weakness.
  3. Bone Disease: Myeloma often affects the bones, leading to bone pain, fractures, and osteoporosis.
  4. Infections: The compromised immune system in myeloma patients makes them more susceptible to infections, including bacterial pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
  5. Hypercalcemia: Elevated levels of calcium in the blood can occur due to the breakdown of bone tissue by myeloma cells, leading to symptoms such as confusion, constipation, and kidney stones.
  6. Neuropathy: Myeloma-related neuropathy can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the extremities, affecting mobility and quality of life.
  7. Cardiovascular Disease: Myeloma patients may have an increased risk of cardiovascular complications, including heart failure and arterial thrombosis.
  8. Thrombocytopenia: Low platelet counts can lead to an increased risk of bleeding and bruising.
  9. Hyperviscosity Syndrome: In rare cases, myeloma cells can produce excessive amounts of abnormal proteins, leading to hyperviscosity syndrome, which can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches, and bleeding.
  10. Secondary Cancers: Myeloma patients may have an increased risk of developing secondary cancers, particularly hematologic malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia.

All to say that if your NDMM  parent or grandparent is has myeloma, disabilities and/or co-morbidities (see above), or if they have used home health aid in the past 12 months then there is a good possibility that they serious support.

If you would like to learn more about both caregiving and conventional and non-conventional therapies for MM, send me an email at David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com


David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Functional Status Associations With Treatment Receipt and Outcomes Among Older Adults Newly Diagnosed With Multiple Myeloma

“Purpose- Multiple myeloma (MM) is a prevalent hematologic malignancy in older adults, who often experience physical disability, increased health care usage, and reduced treatment tolerance. Myeloma disabilities co-morbidity.

Home health (HH) services are frequently used by this group, but the relationship between disability, HH use, and MM treatment receipt is unclear. This study examines the connections between disability, treatment receipt, and survival outcomes in older adults with newly diagnosed MM using a nationwide data set.

Methods-The SEER-Medicare data set was used to identify adults aged 66 years and older diagnosed with MM from 2010 to 2017, who used HH services the year before diagnosis. Disability was assessed with the Outcome and Assessment Information Set, using a composite score derived from items related to ability to complete activities of daily living. Mortality, therapy receipt, and health care utilization patterns were evaluated.
Results-Of 37,280 older adults with MM, 6,850 (18.2%) used HH services before diagnosis. Moderate disability at HH assessment resulted in similar MM-directed therapy receipt as mild disability, with comparable health care usage after diagnosis to severe disability. HH users had a higher comorbidity burden and higher mortality (adjusted risk ratio for 3-year mortality: 1.59.
Severe functional disability before diagnosis was strongly related to postdiagnosis mortality.
Conclusion-Among older adults with MM receiving HH services, disability is a predictor of early mortality. Moderately disabled individuals undergo similar therapy intensity as the mildly disabled but experience increased acute care utilization.
Previous HH use could identify patients with MM requiring intensive support during therapy initiation.”

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