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10 Multiple Myeloma Survival Rate Facts

multiple myeloma survival rate
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Multiple Myeloma Survival Rate

1. What is myeloma?

Myeloma or Multiple Myeloma is a cancer derived from plasma cells that are normally produced in the bone marrow. Plasma cells normally produces the antibodies – immunoglobulins for infection mitigations.

Abnormally, plasma cells produce paraprotien which have no function except being an indication of the cancer.

The accumulation of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow makes the condition cancerous. Unlike usual cancers, myeloma does not partake as a lump or tumor.

Basically, knowing that the bone marrow exist in different areas of the body, myeloma is not a localized malignancy. Hence, it is called Multiple Myeloma.

It is a relapsing and remitting cancer. There are three stages of multiple myeloma and the person may experience a cycle of alternating manifestations when it comes to symptoms and complication. There will be periods of dormancy or remission where it won’t need any treatment.

2. What are Survival Rates?

Survival rates are numerical indications or standards to assess the prognosis or outlook of the condition, which simply means the future of the patient.

Hence, it can be a statistically mathematical basis for doctors to determine the patient’s future. A caveat should be emphasized that such basis is not absolute. Different factors come to play.

It is important to understand the term ‘Median Survival’ for proper understanding of the indicators. The time refers to the average period of survival of the patients.

Hence, Median Survival is an indicator of median average. In other words, the other half of the patients outlive those patients from the former half – average estimation, that is.

3. Basis of the Survival Rates

Survival rates are based on historical data or outcomes in large number of people. A caveat should be emphasized that historical data are not absolute measurement of specific person’s survival rate.

Other factors should be considered such as general health, well-being, age, and treatment that enhances survival. The doctor will be evaluating the patient on almost every possible aspect.

In other words, the specific survival rates are not under the realm of mathematical computations. Survival rates are just estimates.

4. Median Survival

The table below presents the median survival based on International Staging System according to American Cancer Society. The period reckons from the start of the treatment.

Take note that some myeloma have sluggish behavior which makes some patients with the condition to have better survival period than indicated below.

Also, patients whose treatment started 25 years ago are included in the computation of the Median Survival below.

International Staging System Stage Median Survival
Stage I 62 months
Stage II 44 months
Stage III 29 months

5. Life Expectancy

As stated earlier, several factors and the mathematical standards based on statistical estimates are equally considered by the doctors to determine life expectancy.

Lab test provides prognostic information that help provide inputs in the determination of the rate of growth of tumor, coverage of the condition, profile of the condition, post-therapy reaction, and medical profile of the patient before, during, and after the therapy.

Read about aspects that affect multiple myeloma life expectancy.

Table below presents five-year relative survival rate.

This is based from SEER stats.

Year 5 –Year Survival Rate
1975 26.3 %
1980 25.8 %
1985 27 %
1990 29.6 %
1994 30.7 %
1998 33.9 %
2002 39.5 %

6. Survival Rates Indicators by Year

Survival rate by age according to Cancer Research UK.

multiple myeloma survival rate year

7. Survival Rate Indicators by Age

Survival rate by age according to Cancer Research UK.

multiple myeloma survival rate age

8. Trends in Survival Rate

Trends in survival rate according to Cancer Research UK.

multiple myeloma survival rate trends

9. Prognosis

Prognosis is a term used in the computation of estimates based on the historical data of survival rates and key factors such as the health, treatment and age of the patient.

The stage of the cancer also has an important bearing to the estimations. Smoldering Multiple Myeloma is the precursor to the first stage. The cancer is dormant at this point. It will eventually manifests moderate number of cancer cells as it increases in stage.

It is essential to note that such condition can be asymptomatic.

Faster-growing cancer cells generally suggest the prognosis to be unfavorable. If you display good response to initial myeloma treatment and find positive remission, the prognosis can be generally better.

10. Caveat Emptor: A note

It’s important to remember that survival rates are estimated, and they may not apply to your condition. The doctor can help you understand your prognosis according to your case in more detail.

The numbers here are averages and have been calculated using past patients. As myeloma treatment becomes better, expectations and survival rates can improve as well.


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