Most people diagnosed are at least 50 years old. It is more common in black Americans than white Americans and more common in men than women.
There is much work to be done.
There is much work to be done.
Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow. It forms in the body’s plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell that normally help to fight infections. When myeloma cells multiply beyond control and overtake the normal plasma cells, they cause serious medical complications.
Myeloma is the second most frequently diagnosed blood cancer. Each year in the United States, there are more than 30,000 new cases and almost 13,000 people will die from myeloma. Today, more than 100,000 people are living with, or in remission from myeloma.
Many new therapies have been approved in the last few years and other possible treatments are being studied. Nevertheless, the disease remains incurable. Only 48.5 percent of patients diagnosed with myeloma will survive five years after diagnosis.
To address this urgent unmet medical need, LLS is taking a multi-pronged approach to improve outcomes for patients, by investing in scientific research as well as education and outreach efforts to improve patient access to the most promising, cutting-edge treatments.
More than 100,000 people are living with Myeloma today
Only 48.5% of patients survive 5 years or more
LLS spent approx. $70 million in myeloma research since 2009
LLS spent approx. $180 million in patient support and services
LLS funds the most pioneering cancer research of our time and is taking new aim at myeloma.
LLS is collaborating with the National Black Church Initiative to increase awareness.
One morning in June 2012, I woke up at 3 .a.m. with severe back pain and went straight to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with kidney stones, but as I read the scan report, I noticed a footnote that said “bone lesions.” I showed this to my primary care doctor who then ordered blood work and referred me to an oncologist. Three weeks later, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
As a Vietnam War veteran and trial lawyer, I have been through a lot. But, this news was shocking. I thought I was going to die. Still in disbelief, I requested a second opinion at The VA Hospital. They confirmed my diagnosis and I started treatment immediately.
Thankfully, in April 2013, I received a bone marrow transplant. I was able to use my own stem cell but it was an extremely painful journey. My current treatment plan is daily medication. Some of the side effects include chronic fatigue, insomnia and a weakened immune system. My doctors advised me to avoid direct exposure to sunlight and to avoid crowds.
I advise anyone experiencing bone pain to see their doctor, especially veterans, African Americans, and those over 60 years old. Make your health and survival your number one priority. Some days are worse than others, but I get up every day with a positive attitude and do what is necessary to fight this disease. I am proud to say I will be the Honored Hero for the Light The Night walk in Northeast Kansas this year.
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