Generally, if you have multiple myeloma and aren't experiencing
symptoms, you don't need treatment. However, your doctors will likely
monitor your condition at three- to six-month variable intervals,
checking for signs — such as increasing levels of M protein in your
blood or urine — that the disease is progressing. If it is, you may need
treatment to help prevent symptoms.
experiencing symptoms, treatment can help relieve pain, control
complications of the disease, stabilize your condition and slow the
progress of the disease.
there's no cure for multiple myeloma, if you have good treatment results
you can usually return to near-normal activity. The appropriate
treatment depends on your needs, medical status and general health.
Standard treatment options include:
Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for this disease. It
involves using medicine — taken orally as a pill or given through an
intravenous (IV) injection — to kill myeloma cells. Chemotherapy is
often given in cycles over a period of months, followed by a rest
period. Often chemotherapy is discontinued during what is called a
plateau phase or remission, during which your M protein level
remains stable. You may need chemotherapy again if the M protein
level begins to rise.
This treatment involves using high-dose chemotherapy along with
transfusion of previously collected immature blood cells (stem
cells) to replace diseased or damaged marrow. The stem cells can
come from you or from a donor, and they may be from either blood or
This treatment uses high-energy penetrating waves to damage myeloma
cells and stop their growth. Radiation therapy may be used to target
myeloma cells in a specific area — for instance, to more quickly
shrink a tumor that's causing pain or destroying a bone. Radiation
is usually given four to five times a week for a period of weeks.
available treatments are being studied to determine their place in
treatment of multiple myeloma. Your doctor can discuss with you
whether these treatments are appropriate for you. Some of these
Velcade is the newest treatment for resistant forms of multiple
myeloma. It's the first drug in a new class of medications called
proteasome inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of
proteasomes, which causes cancer cells to die. The drug was approved
in 2003 under the Food and Drug Administration's
accelerated-approval process as a third-line treatment for multiple
myeloma. Because the drug was fast-tracked for approval, it will
continue to be studied.
Thalidomide, a drug originally used to treat morning sickness in the
1950s was removed from the market after it was found to cause severe
birth defects. The drug may, however, be an effective treatment for
stopping the growth and spread of myeloma cells. Because thalidomide
can have serious side effects such as nerve damage and dizziness,
researchers are trying to develop a treatment that acts like
thalidomide on myeloma cells without the side effects.
Many new treatments are being tested. Your doctor may be aware of
clinical trials available to you.
multiple myeloma can cause a number of complications, you may also need
treatment for those specific conditions. One example is pain medication
or wearing a back brace to help relieve the back pain you might
experience with multiple myeloma. People with severe kidney damage may
need dialysis. Also, antibiotics may be necessary to help treat
infections or to help reduce your risk of them.
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