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How Does A Physician Know Your Myeloma Is Active?

Home/How Does A Physician Know Your Myeloma Is Active?

How Does A Physician Know Your Myeloma Is Active?

Friday afternoon at the IMF conference in Edina, Minnesota we learned, in detail, the criteria for diagnosis in multiple myeloma. Mayo Clinic transplant nurse Teresa Micelli explained there are four basic disorders that affect plasma cells in the bone marrow. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), smoldering (indolent) myeloma, plasmacytoma and active myeloma. MGUS and indolent myeloma usually only require observation, known in the bus as “watch and wait.” Plasmacytoma is when a patient has a solitary tumor made of plasma cells. Radiation therapy is most often used here. Active myeloma is diagnosed when myeloma protein is present, either in urine or blood, and when a number of other symptoms are present, including at least one of what are called “CRAB” features. CRAB stands for calcium elevation, renal dysfunction, anemia, bone disease. (lytic lesions or osteoporosis) Pretty dry stuff, right? The most memorable point relating to this list has to do with the “watch and wait” part. When you have multiple myeloma, watching and waiting becomes a regular part of your life. Is the increased M-spike just an anomaly this month, or is it a trend that will require a new treatment option? Will Velcade work after Revlimid isn’t effective anymore? Will the stem cell graft take after your bone marrow is wiped-out by high-dose chemotherapy? There is no cure for multiple myeloma. Once you are diagnosed, your new normal becomes watching and waiting. Advice from the conference: Don’t watch and wait. LIVE! Live everyday as if it is your last. Don’t waste a moment watching and waiting! Amen!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat