March is Multiple Myeloma action month
March is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, a time to focus attention on a disease that affects about 1.5 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell.
Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 30,000 Americans were diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2017 and an estimated 12,500 passed away from it.
The revolution in multiple myeloma treatment over the past two decades has been fueled by giant leaps in the understanding of its pathogenesis and the development of several novel agents.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have long had an important role in developing the understanding of this disease, establishing new definitions for diagnosis, and leading the way to new treatments.
This work began more than 50 years ago with Robert A. Kyle, M.D., whose groundbreaking work on plasma cell proliferative disorders led him to classify these disorders into three groups:
- Benign — monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
- Intermediate — smoldering multiple myeloma
- Severe — multiple myeloma
Dr. Kyle's work changed the way multiple myeloma was treated worldwide. Multiple myeloma research has evolved incredibly over the last 10 to 15 years. Today, there are new approaches, drugs and transplants that can be used to bring multiple myeloma into remission.
Share you or your loved one's story with the Connect community in the comments and then join Connect members discussing the diagnosis, treatment, and living with multiple myeloma:
Check out more stories on Multiple Myeloma:
- Tailored Treatment for Multiple Myeloma Yields Ideal Results
- Study identifies barriers to transplant therapy to treat multiple myeloma among racial minority groups
- A 25-year Multiple Myeloma Cancer Journey at Mayo Clinic
- Measles Virus as a Cancer Fighter