Healthy Living

Can Multiple Myeloma Affect Anyone at Any Age?

Can Multiple Myeloma Affect Anyone at Any Age?

Key Takeaways

  • Multiple myeloma can show minimal signs and progress slowly in some people
  • Multiple myeloma is considered incurable, but its symptoms keep reappearing and disappearing

Multiple myeloma, which is a blood cancer, forms in white blood cells that assist in fighting infections. The cancer cells manufacture in bone marrow and overtake  primary blood cells, creating unusual proteins which can cause harm to your kidneys.

Multiple myeloma affects various body parts. Symptoms include painful and fragile bones, infections, fevers, excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea, weight loss, and constipation.

The below treatments may only be required when the symptoms regularly occur and are commonly effective:

•    Chemotherapy

•    Radiation

•    Plasmapheresis

•    A bone marrow or stem cell transplant

Multiple myeloma is considered incurable, but its symptoms keep reappearing and disappearing.

Staging Multiple Myeloma

It is paramount to note that every multiple myeloma patients’ perspective is unique. Your options for treatment and general condition depend on a variety of aspects.

The cancer diagnosis stage is one of the factors. Similar to many illnesses, multiple myeloma has numerous stages.

Your outlook is more easily manageable when you are diagnosed and treated early. The main systems for staging multiple myeloma include:

•    ISS (International Staging System)

•    Durie-Salmon system

This article discusses the Durie-Salmon System. It applies the use of the calcium level in the blood and the monoclonal immunoglobulin and hemoglobin proteins.

The stages of this condition factor in if the cancer is messing up with your kidneys or bones. Bone damage can be signified by high blood calcium levels. Low hemoglobin levels and high monoclonal immunoglobin levels show acute illness.

Most doctors segment multiple myeloma into four stages:

Smoldering Stage (Durie-Salmon stage 1)

At this stage, myeloma doesn’t cause active symptoms. Despite the presence of myeloma cells in your body, they don’t damage your bones and kidneys, thus, possibly undetectable in your blood.

Stage 1

It is signified by a few myeloma cells in your urine and blood. Your hemoglobin levels are slightly lower than normal. Bone X-rays may seem to be normal or show only a single affected part.

Stage 2

The stage is signified by an average quantity of myeloma cells and lowers than normal hemoglobin levels. Monoclonal immunoglobulin and levels of blood calcium may go up; X-rays may bring to light a good number of bone damaged areas. 

Stage 3

Many myeloma cells are present in this stage. Hemoglobin level falls below 8.5 grams/deciliter and blood calcium increases. Cancer damages many bone areas.

Outlook

Your outlook is influenced by your age. Younger people perform better than the elderly. Other health situations and your treatment options ought to be considered. Multiple myeloma can show minimal signs and progress slowly in some people. Poor kidney activity and rapid cancer cell development show a weak outlook. Your outlook is usually better if you react appropriately to first treatment and experience a temporary recovery.

You’ll require constant monitoring tests and disease management care after treatment. You’ll be asked to drink plenty of fluids to assist your kidneys. To avoid infections you should be extra careful, since your immune system is weakened and this will make you feel better and live longer. 

Survival Rates

The comparison of people with myeloma to their peers who are not victims of cancer determines the survival rates. Below are the standard surviving rates by stage according to the ACS (American Cancer Society),

•    Stage 1: 62 months

•    Stage 2: 44 months

•    Stage 3: 29 months

You should be aware that survival rates are evaluated from the beginning of the treatment, and the median survival rate is the average. Thus, 50 percent of the individuals with multiple myeloma had a longer life than the standard length of each stage.

These numbers are inclusive of individuals treated over the past five to twenty five years. The ACS shows an improvement on the treatment, signifying a possible increase in survival rates.