The Average Multiple Myeloma Prognosis

A prognosis is the expression of a medical opinion as to the possible course and outcome of a particular disease; and a multiple myeloma prognosis involves the consideration of several factors – disease stage, presence of a particular immunoglobulin or antibody, and whether or not there is damage to the kidney. These factors will be considered along with various applicable case statistics in order to determine the possibility of multiple myeloma. 

No doctor, however, can say with certainty what the result will be for any specific patient.  As a prognosis is basically the odds that a patient has for recovery, and subsequent recurrence of the disease, it will depend on several things such as the location and type of the cancer; the extent to which the disease has spread or metastasized (cancer stage); how fast the cancer will spread and grow, and how abnormal they look (cancer grade); and the patient’s overall health, age, and treatment response.

In some cases, multiple myeloma does not manifest any symptoms.   In cases they do, the symptoms include pain in the bone, usually behind the ribs; bones easily break; fever outbreak for no apparent reason; frequent infections; weakness in the arms and legs; easy bleeding or bruising; appetite loss; feeling of tiredness; feeling thirsty and frequent urination; nausea or vomiting; constipation; and having difficulty thinking or mental confusion.

People facing the prospects of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma are expectedly concerned about the future.  However, understanding the disease can help the patients and their families as well, in preparing for any eventuality.  Together, they will need to plan about the various treatment options, their finances, and the lifestyle modifications they may need to make to cope with the cancer.

In considering a multiple myeloma prognosis, doctors carefully evaluate all the factors that may have an effect on the patient, all the treatment options, and the possible results that may happen.  However, these are only predictions based on researched information on people afflicted with the same type of cancer.  Whenever possible, information from cases of patients with the most similar situations will be used. 

Survival rate is a statistic indicative of the percentage of patients with a specific cancer type and stage who survive the disease for a particular time period after being diagnosed with the cancer.  Usually a 5-year survival period is used for statistical purposes.  A 5-year survival rate, for example, is the percentage of patients who are still living five years after the diagnosis regardless of whether they are totally free of the cancer, have few cancer symptoms left, or are currently receiving treatment.

What is important is to always keep in mind that a prognosis is only a prediction and even with a bleak multiple myeloma prognosis, a patient may still respond positively to treatment.  All the available information about the disease are used to analyze the various treatment options, and to determine which ones were proven to work better on past patients under similar conditions.  However, no two patients are exactly alike and no matter how similar the cases may be, treatment results for one person cannot be used to expect another person to respond the same way to the same treatment method.

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