Multiple Myeloma Treatment
Once cancer has been detected, biopsied and “staged,” your team of specialists in hematologic oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology will work together to assess the best course of multiple myeloma treatment for you. This will include formulating a coordinated plan of personalized treatment consistent with the highest standards of care.
Your treatment will be tailored to you, and, in the case of smoldering multiple myeloma, it may only involve “watchful waiting”. In watchful waiting, no symptoms are present, and your WellStar physician may recommend carefully monitoring your disease through blood tests and urinalysis to determine whether you may need active treatment.
Treatment may involve drug therapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplants, or a combination. Before drug therapy begins, you will be assessed to determine whether you are a good candidate for a stem-cell transplant. Your decision about whether to have a stem cell transplant may affect what drugs your WellStar physician prescribes for your treatment. Your WellStar physician is highly trained to guide you through this decision-making process.
Although there's no cure for multiple myeloma, with good treatment results you can usually return to near-normal activity.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs given by mouth or injection to destroy cancer cells. It can be used to assist in the cure of cancer patients or to prolong life or the quality of life.
Several drugs are used to treat Multiple myeloma.
Patients who plan to have a stem cell transplant may be treated with drugs that will not weaken the bone, including thalidomide (Thalomid®) and dexamethasone, bortezomib (Velcade®) and dexamethasone, or Velcade, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil®) and dexamethasone.
Patients who do not plan to have a stem cell transplant may be treated with several drugs at one time, depending on the aggressiveness of their cancer.
Radiation therapy is typically used for myeloma patients whose disease has not spread to multiple sites, or whose myeloma is attaching a site on a bone. Sometimes, patients receive radiation therapy before a stem cell transplant. Also, patients whose pain is not controlled with drugs alone may receive radiation therapy in an effort to relieve pain.
WellStar offers standard radiation and cutting-edge techniques to treat multiple myeloma. In most cases, radiation will be administered five days a week for several weeks to the area of your body in which the myeloma is located. Your WellStar radiation oncologist is highly expert in administering the proper dose as well as pinpointing the precise area that needs radiating, thus limiting the amount of healthy tissue affected by the radiation.
Stem Cell Transplant
For a stem cell transplant, stem cells are harvested from your blood or bone marrow, or that of a compatible donor, and frozen. After your cancer cells are destroyed with intense chemotherapy, they are replaced with the donated cells.