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Multiple Myeloma Information

  • Multiple myeloma (also known as MM, myeloma, plasma cell myeloma, or as Kahler's disease after Otto Kahler) is a type of cancer of plasma cells, immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Its prognosis, despite therapy, is generally poor, and treatment may involve chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. It is part of the broad group of diseases called hematological malignancies...
  • There are approximately 45,000 people in the United States living with multiple myeloma, and the American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 14,600 new cases of myeloma are diagnosed each year in the United States. It follows from here that the average prognosis is about three years.

    Multiple myeloma is the second most prevalent blood cancer (10%) after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It represents approximately 1% of all cancers and 2% of all cancer deaths. Although the peak age of onset of multiple myeloma is 65 to 70 years of age, recent statistics indicate both increasing incidence and earlier age of onset.

    Multiple myeloma affects slightly more men than women. African Americans and Native Pacific Islanders have the highest reported incidence of this disease and Asians the lowest. Results of a recent study found the incidence of myeloma to be 9.5 cases per 100,000 African Americans and 4.1 cases per 100,000 Caucasian Americans. Among African Americans, myeloma is one of the top 10 leading causes of cancer death.

    Treatment for multiple myeloma is focused on disease containment and suppression. Although allogeneic stem cell transplant might cure the cancer, it is considered investigational given the high treatment related mortality of the procedure. In addition to direct treatment of the plasma cell proliferation, bisphosphonates (e.g. pamidronate) are routinely administered to prevent fractures and erythropoietin to treat anemia.

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