Recent statistics about multiple myeloma from the National Cancer Institute rank it as number 14 in the list of common cancers. It represents about 1.6 percent of all new cancer cases in the US. Roughly 6.3 individuals per 100,000 will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
Risk factors include gender (more men get myeloma), race (high prevalence in African Americans) and age (the median age at diagnosis is 69, with most people being diagnosed between the ages of 65 and 74).
Due to improved diagnostics, the number of cases of multiple myeloma diagnosed annually is going up, but so is the number of treatments available. Multiple myeloma has evolved into a chronic cancer, with survivors living many years after diagnosis. Life goes on, but it is a life with multiple myeloma. The evolution of multiple myeloma becoming a chronic disease has led to a host of long term management issues for patients and caregivers.
The International Myeloma Foundation Nurse Leadership Board identified the following issues requiring special attention for those living with multiple myeloma:
Bone health and safety
Safe mobility and physical activity
Sexual health and dysfunction
It is important to talk with your healthcare team about the best strategies to manage these challenges in the context of your own multiple myeloma treatment and symptoms.