The last two days I shared with you the story of my interesting flight back to Tampa, sitting next to pathologist Tony Safo from the University of Minnesota Medical Center. During the course of our conversation, Tony and I discussed his sense of the strong genetic component among myeloma patients. Now I’m not talking about how anyone with myeloma most likely had a pre-disposition toward developing this type of cancer. To me, that is an automatic. No, we were discussing how myeloma can run in families. I had understood from listening to different myeloma seminars and speaking with a number of oncologists that, while you may find several cases of myeloma in the same family from time to time, there was very little if any genetic connection between family members. In other words, getting myeloma was more random chance than the type of cancer that runs in a family and moves from generation to generation like, for example, breast cancer. Tony strongly disagreed with this perspective. To prove his point, Tony again pulled out his WHO’s Classification Guide (see Wednesday’s post) and showed me a yellow-highlighted sentence: “Risk of plasma cell myeloma is 3.7 fold higher for individuals with a first degree relative with the disease.” Wow! Almost a 4X chance of developing myeloma if someone in your immediate family has this type of cancer. I’m not sure why this isn’t discussed more. Maybe physicians don’t see the relevance of finding an early predictor for multiple myeloma. My thoughts about this tomorrow.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat