Continuing research has greatly improved the prognosis — or predicted course of disease — for multiple myeloma patients. Though there are many factors that affect prognosis, multiple myeloma can be a manageable disease.
Factors affecting prognosis
Symptoms, age, classification, the stage of your disease and specialized tests are some of the significant factors contributing to your multiple myeloma prognosis. Several clinical and laboratory findings, considered “prognostic indicators,” help determine how fast the tumor is growing, the extent of disease, the biological makeup of the tumor, the response to therapy, and the overall health status of the individual.
Establishing the levels of these prognostic tests early in the course of the disease is important as it provides a baseline against which disease progression and response to therapy can be measured. Many of these tests will be performed multiple times throughout your treatment journey to help determine how well your treatment is working and which treatment should be used next.
Stages of multiple myeloma
The stage of multiple myeloma refers to the degree to which the cancer has progressed. Determining the stage of your disease is one of the most significant factors in developing a personalized treatment plan. Doctors determine the stage of multiple myeloma through diagnostic testing.
International Staging System (ISS)
Durie-Salmon Staging System
Durie-Salmon Staging System is an older staging system that is still sometimes used. With the Durie-Salmon Staging System, the stage of multiple myeloma is determined based on four measurements: the amount of hemoglobin and the level of calcium in the blood, the number of bone lesions and the production rate of M protein. Stages are then further divided according to kidney function.
Increasingly, physicians are relying less on the Durie-Salmon Staging System and more on biologically relevant markers as prognostic indicators when making treatment choices.
Understanding survival statistics
Just as every person is different, every multiple myeloma diagnosis is unique. Survival statistics can be informative, but they do not provide the entire picture, nor can they be directly applied to an individual. Multiple myeloma treatments are advancing every day, faster than ever before — this progress accelerates too quickly to be reflected in these statistics. Click below if you would like to view the latest data surrounding survival statistics along with helpful context for how to interpret it.