There is no right or wrong answer here, and there certainly isn’t anything wrong with attacking myeloma and being aggressive with one’s therapy. Likewise, making a decision to choose a less invasive, more conservative therapy approach is OK too. The important and exciting news is that myeloma patients have therapy choices!
That’s great! But patients and their physicians also need to remember that the choices each of us make have consequences. Following a conservative approach may delay an invasive and potentially dangerous procedure like a stem cell transplant, for example. But what if the Total Therapy approach is correct? What if by not hammering the myeloma early, hard and often, a patient blows the chance of a longer event-free survival or even a cure? Likewise, what if an aggressive approach leads to serious complications? Or, buy exposing the myeloma to all of the available drugs from the start, there aren’t any viable options to use if and when the myeloma returns, resistant to those drugs?
The oh so frustrating point I am trying to make is this: MYELOMA RESEARCHERS DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS YET! They can’t be sure which approach is going to work best, and we won’t know for at least a decade. For now we are all just guessing. But don’t despair! Dr. Rajkumar from the Mayo Clinic recently concluded his presentation to a large group in Minneapolis by reminding the audience that “At this point there are no right or wrong therapy choices.” His point: Keep trying different therapies until you find one that is working, then stick with it until it stops. The important thing is that we are all trying something–doing something–and it is working–even if only for today!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat