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According to research, approximately 90% of multiple myeloma (MM) patients will experience bone damage at some point during their life as a MM patient.
I’ve lived with multiple myeloma since my diagnosis in early 1994. I’ve come to believe that MM is almost as much a bone disease as it is a blood disease. Therefore, as important as your blood work is, so are your imaging studies.
Imaging diagnostics include:
Each imaging method has pros and cons, features and benefits. I’m writing this post to highlight what the studies tell MM patients and survivors and I’m adding my MM experience as a survivor since early 1994.
First and foremost for MM patients to consider is cost. And by cost I mean will your health insurance cover the cost of the imaging study? If your oncologist orders the scan, your insurance should cover the cost. However, I don’t think this is always the case. It may be a headache, but it is your job as a patient or caregiver to confirm (before the scan) that your insurance will cover the cost.
My hot button issue beside cost, is radiation. Or I should say, the possibility of side effects aka adverse events. I underwent dozens of different types of scans in the first years of my active, conventional therapies. While the increase risk of cancer caused by one CT scan is low, lots of CT scans over the life of a MM survivor increases your risks.
Where MM patients and MRI’s are concerned, is something called a “contrast agent.” Studies confirm that Gadolinium “promotes” MM. When I had my last MRI, I simply asked (firmly) not to have the contrast agent. I don’t think the doctor liked this very much but hey…
Like most everything I write about on PeopleBeatingCancer, I encourage multiple myeloma patients, survivors and caregivers to talk to their oncologists about issues like imaging studies- why, what, when, etc.
After all, its your body, you are paying for the procedure and you have a right to ask the question.
Have you been diagnosed with multiple myeloma? What symptoms? What stage? What is your therapy plan? Scroll down the page, ask a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
“The researchers note that compared with other radiographic methods, MRI has high sensitivity for the early detection of marrow infiltration by myeloma cells. MRI detects bone involvements earlier than the myeloma-related bone destruction and without radiation exposure.
All patients should undergo whole-body MRI or spine and pelvic MRI for smoldering or asymptomatic myeloma. MRI can provide prognostic information at diagnosis of symptomatic patients and after treatment.
“MRI describes the pattern of myelomatous infiltration of the bone marrow and is the procedure of choice for the evaluation of painful lesions in patients with myeloma for the detection of spinal cord compression and differentiation of malignant from nonmalignant vertebral fractures,” the authors write.”