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Multiple Myeloma Treatment Options

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects certain white blood cells known as plasma cells. Plasma cells are part of your immune system. They produce antibodies to help your body rid itself of harmful substances. Because your body has many types of plasma cells, it can respond to many types of harmful substances. But when cancer occurs, your body overproduces abnormal plasma, or myeloma cells.

Myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow and the outer layer of the bone. Since these cells begin in the blood plasma, myeloma is technically not a bone cancer, but a cancer that affects bones.

Multiple myeloma blood cancer represents about 1 percent of all cancers in the United States; about 22,000 Americans are diagnosed with it each year. Multiple myeloma symptoms can include fatigue, recurring infections, bone pain and unexplained bone fractures. This form of blood cancer is identified using x-rays, blood and urine tests, bone marrow aspirations and/or biopsies, skeletal surveys, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography scans (also called CT or CAT scans), or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

Multiple Myeloma Treatment Options

The right treatment for you will depend on a variety of factors. Together, you and your doctor, will identify the best treatment option for you. There are a wide range of options available today to treat multiple myeloma. They include:

  • Medications to control pain or prevent fractures
  • Fracture treatment
  • Radiation therapy to control pain, prevent fractures, and allow bone lesions to heal
  • Chemotherapy and corticosteroid drugs
  • Biological or targeted therapies, such as Velcade (bortezomib), Thalomid (thalidomide) and Revlimid (lenalidomide)
  • Alpha interferon, a substance that stimulates or improves your body's immune system to fight disease. Alpha interferon interferes with the division of cancer cells and slows tumor growth. It also seems to prolong remission when given to patients after chemotherapy treatment.
  • Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation have been used extensively in multiple myeloma. Newer, more targeted therapies, though, are making these treatment options less appealing due to the high toxicity associated with transplantation.

In addition to these types of treatments, researchers are also continually studying other potential treatments through clinical trials to help fight multiple myeloma.

Multiple Myeloma Prognosis

RWJBarnabas Health in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center offers exceptional cancer care across New Jersey. We strive to deliver a personalized approach, so each patient receives one-on-one attention in choosing the most effective treatment options.

Because of innovations in diagnosis, treatment and care, multiple myeloma prognosis has improved. While still a very serious disease, today’s patients with multiple myeloma will live longer than in the past.

To contact one of New Jersey’s best blood cancer specialists call
844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.




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100 State Route 36 West
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865 Stone Street
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