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"How difficult is multiple myeloma to treat?"

ZocdocAnswersHow difficult is multiple myeloma to treat?


A close friend was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. What will treatment involve? Wil it take long?


I am sorry that your friend has received this diagnosis. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that is derived from white blood cells. It can be thought of as a cousin to leukemia. It tends to be a slow developing malignancy, but by the time it is detected, it is typically requires treatment. Treatment for multiple myeloma is constantly evolving because of new drugs that are being discovered and new ways of treating it. Today, the conventional way to treat multiple myleoma in patients under that age of 65 that are otherwise healthy is with an autologous stem cell transplant. This procedure involves harvesting stem cells from the person's own bone marrow, then treating the person with chemotherapy to kill off all of the blood cells and most of the cancer cells. The person's stem cells are given back to them (transplanted) so that their normal blood cells can re-grow. Other chemotherapy biological therapies are given sometimes before and sometimes after the stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for multiple myeloma. Thus there is no specific end to the treatments that will be offered. Even with stem cell transplant, most people eventually succumb to the disease. Newer medications that are being investigated currently will hopefully add to the arsenal of current treatments that help to slow the progression of the disease. You should speak to a hematologist/oncologist for more information about this disease.

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