A relapsed myeloma—also known as a recurrent myeloma—is when a cancer mass regrows after treatment. A relapse may also occur while a patient is in remission. Since multiple myeloma does not have a cure, it is likely that, at some point in time, a patient will relapse. When a patient is faced with a relapse of myeloma, it is important to seek treatment as promptly as possible.
A multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that presents itself in a type of white blood cell called the plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making specific antibodies that attack germs. The cancer cells accumulate in the bone marrow and take over the healthy blood cells. As a result, rather than producing helpful antibodies, these cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that cause serious complications.
- Bone pain, especially in your spine or chest
- Loss of appetite
- Mental fogginess or confusion
- Frequent infections
- Weight loss
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
- Excessive thirst
Almost all patients with MM who survive their initial treatment should expect to relapse at some point. There are many different forms of treatment options for relapsed multiple myeloma. Out of numerous options, the most common type of treatment is hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT). However, patients can also undergo the previous chemotherapy regimen they have been on before. Also, a patient’s oncologist may recommend a new course of chemotherapy consisting of different drugs.
Factors that doctors take into account to determine the course of treatment include an in-depth risk stratification of myeloma, duration of response during these treatments, and prior treatment protocols.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy for multiple myeloma get a thorough evaluation before every single treatment cycle. After the completion of the therapy, the patients undergo heavy monitoring to check their disease status. Blood work is necessary to measure the monoclonal (M) protein in the serum. Urine is also tested for this protein, as well as the FLC (serum-free light chain) levels.
Featured Image: DepositPhotos@Steve_AllenPosted on May 22, 2023