Diet and Nutrition

Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

Treatments for Multiple Myeloma

Key Takeaways

  • You may start treatment if you experience signs and symptoms or if your condition displays signs of progression.
  • High doses of chemotherapy are given to the patient to kill the infected bone marrow.
  • Carfilzomib and bortezomib are examples of targeted drugs that stop the action of an element found in myeloma cells used in breaking down proteins.

The cancer care crew discusses what treatment will suit you after multiple myeloma has been diagnosed and staged. The following are treatments used in multiple myeloma:

  • Radiation
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy plus other medicines
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Bisphosphonates

To decide on what treatment will suit you best, you and your doctors will first deliberate on all the options, their aim and what side effects may arise from them. Enquire about issues you are not clear about.

What Determines the Type of Multiple Myeloma Treatments Used?

No treatment for multiple myeloma is standard. The following will determine the treatment to be used:

  • Your age and overall health
  • Laboratory and genomic test results
  • Your symptoms and disease problems
  • Any myeloma treatments previously administered
  • Your lifestyle, objectives, take on quality life and personal preferences 

When Should Treatment Commence?

Multiple myeloma patients who are not exhibiting any symptoms may not require immediate treatment, but the doctor will monitor your condition regularly to check for any signs and will know if the illness is developing. Periodic urine and blood tests may be conducted in such a situation.

Treatment may start if you experience signs and symptoms or if your condition displays signs of progression.

Myeloma Treatments

Although the cure for multiple myeloma is still unknown, you may find yourself renewed with the right treatment.

Targeted therapy - This type of treatment focuses on specific abnormalities inside cancerous cells, which enable them to live. Carfilzomib and bortezomib are examples of targeted drugs that stop the action of an element found in myeloma cells used in breaking down proteins. This leads to the death of myeloma cells. An IV is used in administering both medications. 

Biological therapy - This medication uses the immune system to battle myeloma cells. Lenalidomide, pomalidomide, and thalidomide are the drugs that boost the cells of the immune system that detect and fight cancer cells. They are taken in pill form. 

Chemotherapy - This eradicates cells that grow rapidly, like myeloma cells. These drugs can be administered via IV or taken in the form of a pill. Prior to a stem cell transplant, high doses of chemotherapy are taken. 

Corticosteroids - These drugs regulate the immune system to control body inflammation. They also fight myeloma cells. These drugs can be administered via IV or taken in the form of a pill.

Stem cell transplant - This is a procedure that replaces infected bone marrow with healthy bone marrow.

Blood-forming stem cells are taken from your blood before a stem cell transplant. High doses of chemotherapy are given to the patient to kill the infected bone marrow. Stem cells are then incorporated into the body, where they go to the bones and start to rebuild the bone marrow.

Radiation therapy - Beams of energy, like X-rays, are used in this treatment to destroy myeloma cells and inhibit their growth. It may be used to contract myeloma cells quickly in a given area; for example, plasmacytoma, which damages bones or causes pain.

How to Treat Complications

Treatment may be required for the complications that result from multiple myeloma. Those complications include:

  • Pain in the bone. Radiation therapy and painkillers are given to control this.
  • Kidney problems. Dialysis is required for severely damaged kidneys.
  • Infections. Vaccines may be given to fend off infections like pneumonia and flu.
  • Loss of bones. Bisphosphonates, like zoledronic acid or pamidronate, may be given to prevent this.
  • Anemia. Drugs that raise the red blood cell count are given.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments     

These include: