It's important that your doctor is experienced in treating patients with myeloma or works in consultation with a myeloma specialist. This type of specialist is usually called a hematologist oncologist.
Finding the Best Treatment Approach
Myeloma can't be cured; therefore, the goals of myeloma treatment are to:
- slow the growth of myeloma cells
- provide long periods of remission (when there are no signs of myeloma or you feel well enough to carry on your daily activities)
- help you feel better if you have infections, fatigue or other symptoms
The treatment your doctor recommends is based on several factors, including:
- the disease's stage
- your overall health and whether you have any conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, diabetes or anemia
- whether you have myeloma renal disease
As you develop a treatment plan with your doctor, be sure to discuss:
- the results you can expect from treatment
- the possibility of participating in a clinical trial, where you'll have access to advanced medical treatment that may be more beneficial to you than standard treatment
- potential side effects, including long-term and late-term effects
People diagnosed with myeloma may want to have a consultation with another doctor before proceeding with a prescribed treatment plan. Many health insurance companies will authorize a second opinion.
Other Treatment Considerations
If you're age 60 or older, your treatment may vary from standard approaches. For instance, your body may not be able to tolerate toxic chemotherapy drugs or you may have other ailments that are more common as we age. These factors, among others, may make choosing a treatment more complicated.
If your cancer has returned (relapsed) or it's still present after you finish standard therapy (refractory myeloma), you may have a different treatment approach than the first time around. Read more about refractory and relapsed myeloma.