When myeloma returns
When myeloma returns, it is called disease progression, relapse or recurrence. You and your doctor will need to discuss what treatment is needed to try to regain control of the disease.
While options for managing disease progression may have been considered in the initial treatment plan, many doctors like to discuss all the options again. This is because the risks and benefits of treatment are not as clear in people whose myeloma has relapsed, and your views and the disease characteristics may have changed.
In some people, the original treatment can be repeated successfully, especially if the response to the treatment was good. In other people, the myeloma may not respond to the treatment that was used previously. This is called resistant or refractory disease.
Treatment options for resistant disease may include:
- taking a different combination of drugs
- treatment with a different class of drugs
- having another stem cell transplant
- participating in a clinical trial to access new drugs being developed and tested.
New treatments are being developed all the time, so if the myeloma comes back, talk to your doctor about what treatment options are available.
Prof John Gibson, Haematologist, Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Stephanie Anderson, Registrar, Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW; Tanya Carney, Consumer; Jacqui Keogh, NSW State Manager/Senior Myeloma Nurse NSW, Myeloma Australia; Dr Silvia Ling, Haematologist, Liverpool Hospital, NSW; Rachel McCann, Myeloma Support Nurse NSW, Myeloma Australia; John McMath, Consumer; Karen Robinson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW.
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