The cancer that affects plasma cells in the bone marrow is called multiple myeloma cancer. It is also known as plasma cell myeloma and Kahler's disease. Abnormal number of plasma cells accumulate in bones and causes bone lesions. These bone lesions occur in the bone marrow. This causes interference in the production of normal blood cells.
What is the Prognosis for Multiple Myeloma?
The prognosis is a type of medical opinion that helps a patient learn about the course of disease. It helps patients learn their chances of surviving the cancer and the odds of recurrence. The prognosis depends on several factors that help determine the chances a patient has. These factors are as follows:
- The extent to which the cancer has spread (stages of multiple myeloma)
- Multiple myeloma grade
- Patients age
- Patients general health
- Response to treatment
The prognosis depends on these factors. The doctors base their prognosis on information that has been collected by researchers over the years. Each patient is different, so will be their prognosis.
It depends on the above prognosis factors. Other than that, it also depends on, if a certain immunoglobulin is present in the blood, kidneys are damaged and the response to initial treatment. The treatments aim for preventing or relieving symptoms. It also helps destroy abnormal plasma cells and reduces the rate of disease progression. Multiple myeloma is an incurable disease therefore one can only hope to keep the progression of this disorder in check.
Life expectancy is about 5.1 years, in case of stage 1. The life expectancy for Stage 2 is approximately 3 to 4 years and in case of stage 3 the life expectancy reduces to 2 years. The prognosis without treatment shows poor survival rate. About 15% of patients with this disease die within 6 months without treatment.
Different Types of Multiple Myeloma
Myeloma is classified into two types; inactive and active disease. The active disease requires immediate treatment as the typical symptoms are exhibited by the patient. The stage 1 and stage 2 of this disorder fall under the symptomatic or active disease. Inactive disease is asymptomatic in nature. The different subtypes of inactive disease include Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS), Smoldering Multiple Myeloma (SMM), Indolent Multiple Myeloma (IMM) and stage I disease.
Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) is a condition where abnormal monoclonal protein is present in the blood. This condition is benign, and has no health complications. However, in some cases, the condition progresses to some form of cancer. The Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance prognosis shows the risk of progressing to multiple myeloma to about 1 percent per year.
Smoldering myeloma is a slow-growing type. It is an asymptomatic cancer that is seen in people with different types of myeloma. Certain white blood cells are affected, that causes them to make too much of monoclonal protein. The Smoldering Multiple Myeloma prognosis depends on the levels of plasma cells in the bone marrow and M protein in serum. Those patients with less than 10% plasma cells and more the 3 g/dL of M protein in serum show a median progression time of about 19 years. Those with more than 10% percent plasma cells and more than 3 g/dL serum M protein have a progression time of 2 years. However, there are chances that Smoldering Multiple Myeloma never reaches the symptomatic stage.
Indolent Multiple Myeloma life expectancy is calculated to about 10 years after diagnosis. The prognosis without treatment is said to be about 6 months. Stage I is comparatively very good, especially in cases where patient is young and healthier. The stage I multiple myeloma life expectancy is estimated to be about 62 months. Stage II survival rate is estimated to be about 44 months and stage II has a life expectancy of just 29 months.
With the advancement in medical technology, life expectancy for different forms of cancers is improving. Also, better palliative care and holistic multiple myeloma treatment approach is making lives of cancer patients better. The 5 year survival rate is about 35%. One should keep in mind as everyone is different, so is the prognosis different in different cases.