If you suffer from multiple myeloma, which a rare form of blood cancer, one of the most crucial decisions you will have to make is choosing a doctor who specializes in multiple myeloma. A hematologist-oncologist is the specialist you need who will manage your cancer throughout the cycle of diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. A hematologist-oncologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of blood related diseases and cancers, such as iron deficiency anemia, leukemia, sickle cell disease, lymphoma, and other rare forms of cancer, including multiple myeloma. These specialists are trained in hematology, which is the study of blood, in addition to oncology, which is the study of cancer, making them the right specialists to deal with the rare blood cancer multiple myeloma.
Initially with the advent of any disease, you are most likely to visit your local doctor. After the initial diagnoses to rule out other diseases or in the case the doctor is unable to identify what you are suffering from, he/she will refer you to another doctor who they think might be able to help in the diagnoses of the condition.
To deal with multiple myeloma, your local doctor will be able to help you and can refer you to a good specialist depending upon the health insurance plan you have. Your doctor may know one or more hematologist-oncologists in your locality who specializes in this rare cancer, which deals with blood. Your health insurance company will also be able to give you a list of multiple myeloma specialists who are within your health insurance plan.
Multiple myeloma after treatment
It has been found that even after treatment for this cancer, multiple myeloma never goes away in the majority of the patients affected by it. To help keep the cancer in check and manage its progress, routine chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and medications are all used as treatment options for the patient.
The majority of myeloma patients never complete treatment, although there is a period when treatment is halted for a while for the patient to recuperate from the aggressive treatments that are needed to deal with this rare form of cancer. Such is the nature of multiple myeloma. As a patient suffering from multiple myeloma, it is essential to go for regular checkups so that your specialist and your doctor can determine if, when, and how to start treatment and medications again, if the cancer evolves or progresses. This ensures that you are able to live a normal life with little risk of complications.
Checkups are done to keep an eye on your cancer, to determine general recovery, and to see if the prescribed treatment has been effective against the cancer. Attending all checkups during and after treatment is imperative in order to combat this cancer. You should ensure that you regularly attend these checkups.
During checkups, you will be examined, asked to describe your symptoms, and asked to undergo tests, such as blood or urine tests. In some cases, you will also be asked to get imaging studies like an x-ray done. Many checkups also involve getting a CT scan. Checkups identify the need for further treatment and side effects that can be effectively addressed after the checkups. You can ask or talk to your cancer care team about any complications you have or if you have any other concerns.
Side effects are found to occur in almost all treatments for all types of cancer. Some of these side effects are short-term and temporary, whereas others are permanent and long lasting. You should immediately inform your doctor and specialist about any side effects that you might be experiencing so that they are able to address them in a timely manner.
Multiple myeloma is a rare form of blood cancer that is rarely able to be cured. Thus preserving your medical insurance is important. Although the cancer may disappear for a while after treatment, in most people it will likely return. If you are secured by medical insurance, then you will not have to worry about how to pay for treatments in the scenario the cancer returns.
What you should do when you visit a new doctor
Many times patients are faced with circumstances where they are required to change their doctor or they simply need a new one. A new doctor who has no knowledge of their medical history or their past health history will need time to catch up. In such a situation or in the event something like this occurs, you should be in a position to give all of your medical history and details to your new doctor. Make sure you gather all these details immediately after you have been diagnosed and treated to avoid any inconveniences that might arise in the future.
You need to ensure that you the following information is with you:
- A duplicate of the report from the pathology on any surgeries or biopsies carried out
- Duplicates of any imaging tests conducted, like MRI or CT scans. You can always store this kind of information on a CD or DVD
- Duplicates of the results from the laboratory
- A duplicate of the operative report if you happened to undergo surgery to treat any diseases
- A duplicate of the summary for discharge if you were admitted to a hospital during the duration of your treatment
- A list of the drugs and medications that you were prescribed, the drugs you took, the drug doses, and what time you took them. In addition, you should have a list of the drug treatments you underwent, such as immunotherapy or chemotherapy
- A duplicate of the treatment summary if you underwent radiation to treat the cancer
Some doctors might ask you to leave copies of these details for the purpose of record keeping and to help them document your treatments and track the progress of the cancer. Hence, always make sure you have enough copies of these details for your own personal records, as well.
It is necessary to seek medical advice as soon as possible, because, as they say, “a stitch in time saves nine.”
- You should ensure that you attend all checkups during treatment and after
- Side effects are found in almost all treatments for cancer
- The majority of myeloma patients never complete treatment, although there is a period when treatment is halted for a while