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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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Should Myeloma treatment be Palliative Care?

Multiple Myeloma First Line Treatment
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By asking you “should myeloma treatment be palliative care?” I am asking you to think about treatment for newly diagnosed MM patients differently. My definition of “differently” is that the current FDA approved standard-of-care for all newly diagnosed myeloma patients is:

  • aggressive
  • highly toxic
  • adverse event prone

The term used is “potentially curative” therapy. Even though MM is an incurable blood cancer, I believe that all NDMM patients want to think they have a chance at a cure. I think that NDMM patients respond to phrases like “deep remission.”

The problem that is illuminated so well in the article below is that palliative therapy allows for a much higher quality of life for the patient. I think that if NDMM patients understood how painful the FDA SOC therapy plan was, they might opt for the palliative treatment route.

While I cannot cite studies to support my thinking, I believe that palliative care for NDMM patients with advanced cancer (stage 3) would live longer.

The article linked below focuses on “advanced cancer” for palliative therapy. According to research, advanced myeloma or stage 3 has a much shorter prognosis and stage 1 myeloma.

According to research:

  • About 82 percent of people with stage 1 disease live for five years or more after being diagnosed.
  • Approximately 62 percent of people with stage 2 disease live at least five years after diagnosis.
  • About 40 percent of people with stage 3 disease live for five years or more.

If the early stage NDMM patient wants to treat their myeloma aggressively then they have every reason to do so.

What are the pros and cons for palliative care for myeloma patients?


  1. Symptom Management:
    • Pain Relief: Palliative care provides effective pain management, which is crucial for myeloma patients who often suffer from bone pain and fractures.
    • Other Symptoms: It also helps manage other symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and breathing difficulties.
  2. Quality of Life:
    • Emotional Support: Palliative care teams offer psychological support to help patients cope with the emotional and mental challenges of their diagnosis.
    • Spiritual Care: Support for spiritual needs can also be part of palliative care, providing a holistic approach to the patient’s well-being.
  3. Patient and Family Support:
    • Communication: Palliative care teams facilitate better communication between patients, families, and healthcare providers, ensuring that the patient’s wishes and needs are understood and respected.
    • Decision-Making: Helps in making informed decisions about treatment options and future care, aligning medical interventions with patient goals and preferences.
  4. Coordination of Care:
    • Continuity: Ensures continuous and coordinated care across different healthcare settings and providers.
    • Comprehensive Approach: Addresses the needs of the patient as a whole, not just the disease.


  1. Misconceptions and Stigma:
    • Association with End-of-Life: Some patients and families may mistakenly believe that palliative care is only for the terminal phase, leading to reluctance in accepting it early in the diagnosis.
    • Negative Perceptions: There can be a stigma attached to receiving palliative care, perceived as giving up on curative treatment.
  2. Access and Availability:
    • Limited Resources: Access to palliative care can be limited by availability of specialized professionals and services, particularly in rural or underserved areas.
    • Insurance Coverage: There can be challenges with insurance coverage for certain aspects of palliative care, leading to financial concerns.
  3. Coordination Challenges:
    • Fragmented Care: In some healthcare systems, coordinating palliative care with other ongoing treatments can be challenging, potentially leading to fragmented care.
    • Communication Gaps: There may be communication gaps between palliative care teams and primary or oncology teams.
  4. Potential for Over-Medication:
    • Medication Side Effects: Managing symptoms often involves medications that can have side effects, necessitating careful monitoring to avoid over-medication or adverse effects.

Full Transparency- I didn’t think of all this completely on my own. The essay authored by S. Vincent Rajkumar titled “Treatment of Myeloma: Cure vs. Control” already establishes many of the same ideas of palliative myeloma care.

In addition, Dr. James Berenson, MM specialist, practices a low-dose approach to MM treatment. According to a recent clinical trial, Dr. Berenson provides the highest 5 and 10 year survival rates in the world of MM.

I am not any sort of medical professional. I am a long-term MM survivor and MM cancer coach. I have read and written about MM since my conventional treatment ended in 9/1997 so you can imagine the strong feelings I have about all things multiple myeloma.

When it comes down to your treatment, what, how much, when, etc. is up to you. I am simply offering different ideas, possible therapy plans, a different way of thinking about your MM.

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

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Top oncologists say everyone with advanced cancer needs early palliative care. Here are 6 things to know

“This year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology — the world’s leading oncology organization — recommended palliative care for everyone with advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis and while receiving treatment…

By next year, 693,000 people in the United States will have advanced breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, bladder, or skin cancer. Typically, advanced cancersspread to other parts of the body, and may cause symptoms or are difficult to cure…

Oncologists said starting palliative care when a diagnosis is made may make it easier for patients to stay on their treatment course…

Palliative care can help you live better and longer

“Many people are surprised to hear research shows early palliative care involvement not only improves quality of life but also prolongs survival,” Dr. Allison Chang, an oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, told ABC News.

Palliative care puts you in control of your care

Palliative care teams work closely with a patient’s oncologist throughout their cancer journey.

Palliative care supports you and those who matter most

“Palliative care is very deliberate in seeing, recognizing and assessing the needs of caregivers… [who] are such an important part of the clinical team,” said Kamal.

Palliative care increases your time at home or where you want to be

Dr. Anthony Back, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington’s Division of Oncology, told ABC News about a patient with breast cancer whose chemotherapy made her too tired to do things her two young kids needed.

Palliative care helped with her fatigue and worry so she could manage and feel like “mom” again, he said.

Palliative care isn’t just for people with cancer

Anyone with a serious illness can get palliative care, and it’s recommended for heart and kidney failure.

Kamal recommends asking your doctor “Could the extra support of a palliative care team be helpful to me?” He finds asking is often enough for doctors to make a referral.



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