myeloma questions, myeloma treatment singapore, CFCH

5 Questions Patients Have After Being Diagnosed With Multiple Myeloma

Following a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, individuals may have a myriad of unanswered questions. We will delve into five common questions that patients frequently have after receiving the life-changing news of a multiple myeloma diagnosis. Our goal is to provide you with clarity, knowledge, and reassurance as you embark on this path towards managing and overcoming multiple myeloma.


1. Why Did I Not Experience Any Symptoms Before Being Diagnosed?

Understanding the curious absence of symptoms before a multiple myeloma diagnosis can shed light on the subtleties of this complex condition. At an early stage, some of the symptoms of the condition are non-specific and can often mimic myeloma. 

For example, fractures of the spine may be thought to be due to osteoporosis. Anaemia, bone pain and kidney issues could be mistaken for other medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases or kidney disorders. Sometimes myeloma can be mistaken for other blood disorders such as leukaemia or lymphoma.

In such cases, detailed blood tests, bone marrow and other specific investigations are often needed to ensure that the correct diagnosis of myeloma is made.


2. How Did I Get Myeloma Even Though I Don’t Have A Family History Of The Condition?

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While myeloma can be genetic, it is not always inherited. Myeloma is not inherited in the same manner as breast cancer is, which is often from a single gene. There is a slightly higher occurrence of myeloma within family members when compared to the entire population, but presently, the inheritance pattern of myeloma is unknown. 

Even if it is not inherited, the main cause of multiple myeloma is still unclear. However, doctors are able to understand that changes in the plasma cell’s DNA can produce abnormal cells, and when these abnormal cells begin to multiply uncontrollably, this results in myeloma. 

In some patients there will be a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) that precedes the development of myeloma. In MGUS, patients have no symptoms but they have plasma cells that produce an abnormal protein known as M-protein. Only 20% of patients with MGUS progress to myeloma.


3. Is Multiple Myeloma Painful?

Pain is a common concern among individuals diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and understandably so. Patients who have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma may experience pain related to the disease as myeloma can cause weakness in the bones or compression of nerves due to a tumour. 

If you are dealing with myeloma-related pain, discussing your symptoms with your healthcare team is essential. They can tailor a pain management plan that suits your unique needs and ensures you can maintain the best possible quality of life throughout your journey with multiple myeloma.


4. Can Myeloma Cause Tumours To Spread?

Firstly, myeloma itself doesn’t form solid tumours like some other cancers. Myeloma is usually a liquid cancer involving plasma cells in the bone marrow and blood. These tumours may present in the bone marrow, preventing the bone marrow from producing healthy cells. Sometimes these tumours may present in the spine, or in the chest wall (amongst other locations) and can cause symptoms due to the infiltration and pressure effects on surrounding nerves and organs.

However, plasmacytomas can sometimes present as isolated solid tumours without myeloma involvement in the bone marrow. These tumours are known as solitary plasmacytomas and our doctors may recommend radiation therapy to treat and manage these tumours.

Patients who present with myeloma together with plasmacytomas will usually need targeted chemotherapy as well as possibly radiotherapy as treatment.


5. Is Myeloma Curable?

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The question of whether myeloma is curable is a significant concern for individuals grappling with this diagnosis. At present myeloma is still considered an incurable disease. However, recent advances in both the diagnosis, monitoring of myeloma as well as treatments have meant that for an increasing number of myeloma patients, they are able to attain very good responses to treatment and also remain in remission for increasingly longer periods.

There are constant advances and development of newer therapies for myeloma which means that we anticipate that the outcomes of myeloma patients will continue to improve over time.

Your Myeloma Journey with CFCH

This article has provided some insights into common questions that arise after a multiple myeloma diagnosis. At CFCH, we provide personalised care, tailored treatment plans, and compassionate support, all designed to help you navigate the complexities of multiple myeloma. Your health is our priority, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

The information on the Centre For Clinical Haematology website is intended for educational use.  It should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified health professional.

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