Here is an e-mail I recieved Saturday from a new reader, John, who is concerned about the effects chemotherapy treatments may have on males with multiple myeloma:
As a fellow MM patient, I’ve noticed a lack of information regarding the impact of MM treatments on testosterone production. As a result of either SCT, melphalan, Revlimid it is not uncommon for male patients to suffer from severely diminished testosterone production. The symptoms of reduced testosterone production are similar to those encountered in recovery from SCT (fatigue, osteopenia, GI tract malfunctions, etc.). Unfortunately, many of the standard MM treatment protocols do not include testing testosterone levels. A testosterone test can be done as part of a normal blood test. I’ve spoken with several other MM patients who spent months (or years!) of additional recovery time after SCTs due to undiagnosed low testosterone levels. The Endocrinologists are aware of the situation but even the most knowledgeable MM specialists seem to be unaware of the problem. I would recommend all male patients who regularly use Revlimid or have had an SCT have their testosterone levels checked if they experience “excess” fatigue. Testosterone supplements are available and quickly remedy the fatigue with few side effects. I’ve been disseminating this information on various MM bulletin boards during the past few years but it never hurts to reinforce the concept.
Thanks for your work on publicizing MM, about the only information I could add would be that I am one of the 230 patients who were in the “Revlimid” arm of the recent (and on-going) clinical trial regarding usage of Revlimid for maintenance therapy after an SCT. If you need any further information on this clinical trial let me know.
Thanks, John! I have wondered about that myself. I’m going to get my levels checked in May.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat