Myeloma treatment is different for every individual. This can make it difficult to determine what to expect, although an experienced oncologist can provide tailored recommendations and guidance. In the meantime, the following information can help you learn more about the condition and how it can be treated.
There are different treatment guidelines for the different types of myeloma
People with multiple myeloma often undergo different types of treatment than those with localized myeloma or plasmacytoma. With multiple myeloma, for instance, the cancer is not limited to one specific part of the body, which means that systemic treatments are often necessary to treat cancerous cells in multiple places. Localized myeloma, on the other hand, affects just one part of the body, which means that surgery or radiation therapy may be appropriate.
Treatment often depends on how fast the cancer is progressing
Even for people who have the same type of myeloma, there can be notable variances in treatment based on how quickly the cancer is spreading. Asymptomatic (slow-growing) myelomas may not require immediate treatment, although routine monitoring is usually recommended. Symptomatic myelomas, however, can produce complications such as anemia, so prompt treatment is often advised.
Stem cell transplantation may be an option
High doses of chemotherapy can be used to destroy damaged bone marrow cells, after which healthy stem cells can be infused into the patient’s body. These cells can either be taken from the patient’s own bone marrow prior to chemotherapy or received from a donor. Sometimes, two transplants are performed within a 6-to-12-month period to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Some treatments are given with preventive intent
Myeloma can cause a number of complications. For instance, the cancerous cells can weaken and dissolve healthy bones. Bisphosphonates (medications that can potentially slow the progression of bone disease) may be given alongside a patient’s other treatments to help reduce the risk of a fracture or chronic bone pain.
If you’d like to learn more about myeloma, you can request an appointment with one of Moffitt Cancer Center’s experienced oncologists by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online. No referral is required.