I saved the last edition of the International Myeloma Foundation’s (IMF) Myeloma Today on my “get to as soon as possible” pile near my computer.  The full color newsletter, done very professionally in color, on thick, glossy stock, was folded open to an article about Dr. Shaji Kumar’s ongoing study comparing continued initial therapy and delayed transplantation at relapse versus early transplantation. 

I have written about this topic before.  The main body of the study followed 410 Mayo Clinic patients between 2001 and 2008.  The early transplant group included 174 patients who underwent transplant (SCT) within 12 months of diagnosis.  The remaining patients were considered in the delayed SCT group.

Several other study groups were created and researched as well.    The bottom line according to Dr. Kumar:  “The timing of transplant in the era of novel agents remains the top question on the mind of both physicians and patients…  The time to disease progression appears comparable for both groups following transplant.  Most imortantly, the overall survival of patients was comparable whether they received the SCT in an early or delayed fashion.” 

You have read it before and you will read about it again at ASCO:  Researcher’s and myeloma docs just don’t know which therapy path is best for which patients.  It’s a guess.  A gut reaction by physician and patient.  Another reason why it is so important for myeloma patients to become as well informed as possible, as quickly as possible.

So get to work!  Talk with IMF counselors.  E-mail me with questions anytime if you think I can help. 

Feel good, keep smiling and ask questions of both oncology nurses, docs and other multiple myeloma patients.  It’s important–and it might help save your live!  Pat