Your multiple myeloma prognosis might seem a bit confusing. It’s not something that is set in stone and cannot be changed. It is, however, an educated estimate, by a qualified professional, of how multiple myeloma will affect you as an individual as well as how it is likely to respond to certain prescribed treatments.
There are multiple factors that influence a multiple myeloma cancer prognosis – particularly test results from both routine laboratory tests and specialized tests. For instance, some test results might indicate that your multiple myeloma cancer is far more active than doctors suspected – or less.
For most people, symptoms of multiple myeloma are not always a good indicator of the overall prognosis – primarily because most people do not begin to experience symptoms until stage 3. These symptoms include a wide range of conditions, including:
- Excessive Thirst
- Increased Urine Production
- Loss of Appetite
- Muscle Weakness
- Recurring Infections and Sores
- Weight Loss
These things are not, however, used as part of a myeloma cancer prognosis. It is, instead, based on many of the following characteristics based on laboratory tests. Higher levels of beta 2 microglobulin (B2M), higher than normal levels of serum creatinine, lactate dehydrogenase, and c-reactive protein; along with lower than normal platelet counts and hemoglobin. Another important prognostic indicator is the presence of immature plasma cells. Their very presence can help physicians with the plasma cell myeloma prognosis.
Your multiple myeloma prognosis can also be impacted by things outside of the condition itself, such as your age at the time of diagnosis, the growth rate of the cancer cells, your kidney function prior to diagnosis, and your own genetics.
Why is the Prognosis So Important?
The prognosis of multiple myeloma cancer is only one small piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve identified the problem, it is time to begin taking steps to slow the progression of the disease, ease the symptoms, and restore quality of life – as much as is possible.
The prognosis of your condition and how well you may or may not respond to certain treatments, will help to determine the course of treatment prescribed. If your condition is advanced and aggressive, for instance, you will want to take a more aggressive response to your condition with treatment.
Treatment options vary a great deal according to your prognosis and include things like:
- High-Dose Chemotherapy
- Stem Cell Transplants
- Monoclonal Antibodies
- Immunomodulatory Drugs
- Proteasome Inhibitors
Some people live many years with multiple myeloma while others receive no diagnosis until the later stages of the condition. Early detection and treatment are essential for a favourable long-term prognosis when living with a condition like multiple myeloma.
The most important thing to remember when exploring your myeloma cancer prognosis is that there are an infinite number of factors that could change or alter that prognosis to one that is more favourable for you. Hope, dedication, commitment, and attitude have been known to defy medical expectations in the past – especially when used in combination with aggressive treatment from knowledgeable professionals in the field.