Multiple Myeloma Life Expectancy

Multiple myeloma is a cancer in which cancer cells develop in bone marrow and start eliminating healthy blood cells. These cancer cells also produce abnormal proteins that cause serious damage to the kidneys. As it affects your ability to fight infection, you experience its effects in more than one area of your body. Patients have to deal with several serious symptoms that make them ask about multiple myeloma life expectancy.

Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

You may experience several issues when you develop this cancer. The most common symptoms are fatigue, kidney problems, anemia, severe bone pain, too much calcium in the blood, sudden bone fractures in the ribs, arms, back or legs, and bleeding problems. You may also experience other issues such as vision difficulties, confusionand headaches.

Multiple Myeloma Life Expectancy

So many factors go into determining the life expectancy of multiple myeloma. Your age and previous medical history play a big role in here. Other factors that can affect the prognosis of multiple myeloma are extent of kidney damage, your body's response to treatments, genetic mutations, and stage when the cancer was detected.

Your doctor will consider all these points to predict multiple myeloma life expectancy in your case. They also check the levels of serum beta-2 microglobulin and serum albumin in your blood to determine the stage of the cancer.



Medical Survival

Stage I

Beta-2 microglobulin is equal to or less than 3.5 and albumin level is greater than or equal to 3.5

62 months

Stage II

Beta-2 microglobulin levels are between 3.5 and 5.5

44 months

Stage III

Beta-2 microglobulin levels will be in excess of 5.5

Less than 44 months

It is important to bear in mind that life expectancyformultiple myeloma depends on a number of factors, and there are always chances that abovementioned numbers do not apply to your condition. You should discuss it with your doctor who will consider other factors and explain your personal prognosis better in detail.

Things That Can Be Done to Possibly Improve Multiple Myeloma Life Expectancy

There are certain treatment options available to improve life expectancy of multiple myeloma.Some common ones include:

1. Chemotherapy

The treatment involves taking certain medicines in the form of tablets or injections to kill cancer cells. Several factors determine the length of the treatment and the combination of medicines used in your case. You will have to take medicines even if the initial treatment achieves a remission.

Medicines can include steroids, interferon, lenalidomide, thalidomide, or bortezomib. Chemotherapy has become quite effective in the recent times due to developments in medicines. Your doctor will consider your age and other factors to select the most suitable medicine for you.

2. Stem Cell Transplant

A stem cell transplant is another way to improve multiple myeloma life expectancy and usually offers a complete remission, yet it is not suitable for every patient.Stem cells develop into blood cells in the bone marrow – these are immature cells that grow into mature blood cells.Your doctor will first obtain stem cells from your blood. The transplantation involves high-dose treatment with chemotherapy in order to eliminate the abnormal plasma cells. The procedure may also kill the stem cells that make healthy blood cell; therefore, it is important to give you some stem cells through a drip after the high-dose treatment. These cells go straight to the bone marrow and make normal blood cells, including plasma cells.

Research also shows that there are better chances of noticing an improvement in multiple myeloma life expectancywith a bone marrow transplant through donor cells. The treatment has a high success rate when the cancer is still in its early stage, but can only help manage symptoms in the later stages of the disease.

3. Radiotherapy

The procedure involves using high-energy beam of radiation to kill cancer cells. The beams focus on cancerous tissue and also help keep cells from multiplying. Your doctor may recommend radiotherapy to treat severe localized problems and plasmacytomas. You are a good candidate for radiotherapy if you have severe pressure on nerves due to a damaged spinal bone.

4. Steroid Drugs and Other Medicines

You may have to take steroid drugs, such as prednisone or dexamethasone to destroy abnormal plasma cells. These drugs also lessen the stomach sickness associated with chemotherapy. Other medicines may also be prescribed to destroy cancer cells and keep them from replicating. Some of these medicines also help stop the growth of new blood vessels to kill cancer cells.

5. Treat Associated Symptoms

Multiple myeloma life expectancyis not much when you are in an advanced stage cancer. You may also be experiencing other associated symptoms. You have to manage those symptoms to improve your life expectancy, including:

  • Anemia: You will have to go for erythropoietin, a treatment that makes your body to produce new red blood cells.
  • Bone damage: You will have to take bisphosphonates, such as zoledronic acid and pamidronate to protect bones.
  • High blood calcium: You will receive IV fluids with the steroid prednisone and other medication to flush calcium out of your system.
  • Kidney problems: The treatment depends on the extent of damage, but you may get prednisone, IV fluids, and allopurinol that lowers levels of uric acid and slows kidney damage. In some cases, you may also need dialysis.

6. Self-Care

While receiving your treatment, you can take certain measures to feel better.Maintain a well-balanced diet and opt for foods after consulting your healthcare provider. Also, staying active helps to protect your bones and improve your energy level as well.Be sure to take plenty of rest and take short breaks during the day to maintain energy.

Just do not feel shy to ask for help and join support groups to understand how manage your condition better and improve multiple myeloma life expectancy.Spend time doing things you enjoy most.

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