Diagnosis and Treatment

How is myeloma diagnosed?

Myeloma can often be difficult to diagnose because many of the signs and symptoms are vague. Some patients have no symptoms and the suspicion of myeloma arises following routine blood tests. Patients with suspected myeloma are referred to a haematologist (blood specialist) who will carry out a series of tests before a diagnosis of myeloma is made

How is myeloma treated?

Despite many recent advances in the treatment of myeloma there is no known cure. The aim of myeloma treatment is to control disease progress, optimise survival, manage symptoms and improve quality of life for patients. Treatment is tailored to the individual patient. Treatment options include:

  • Close monitoring where the patients disease is not active and not causing any symptoms/complications.
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Steroids
  • Immunomodulatory drugs (which act on the cells of the immune system e.g. Thalidomide and Lenalidomide).
  • Bortezomib ( a new class of anti-cancer drug which blocks the proteasome)
  • Stem Cell transplantation
  • Bisphosphonates (drugs to minimise bone disease)
  • Radiotherapy
  • Kidney dialysis for patients with permanent kidney damage
  • Painkillers
  • Antibiotics
  • Transfusions
  • Injections to raise the amount of blood in the body
  • Injections for to stimulate the immune system

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