Your doctor will determine the extent of your myeloma by staging the disease according to how much myeloma is in your body. Staging helps your doctor predict the myeloma's progression and develop a treatment plan.
Doctors use one of two staging systems: the Durie-Salmon Staging System or the newer International Staging System. Doctors also use the terms smoldering myeloma or asymptomatic myeloma to describe the disease when its presence is minimal with little evidence of progression.
Durie-Salmon Staging System
The Durie-Salmon Staging System calculates the myeloma stage by measuring:
- Hemoglobin concentration
- Level of blood calcium
- Presence of bone lesions on imaging studies to determine the extent of the myeloma
- Amount of the M protein in the blood and urine
- Level of kidney function
International Staging System
The International Staging System calculates the myeloma stage by measuring levels of two proteins in the blood:
In treatment planning, doctors also consider other factors. The general health of the patient, the presence of other significant diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, the presence of kidney disease, other findings that influence the patient’s tolerance to treatment, and the risk of treatment-induced difficulties are all considered when doctors are making treatment decisions, including whether to treat and what approach to take.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Myeloma.