Staging is an evaluation of how much abnormal immunoglobulin is being produced, how much calcium is in the blood, how extensive and severe the bone damage is, and how anemic the affected patient is. Staging helps to determine a patient’s prognosis and allows the patient and his doctor to develop an individualized monitoring and treatment plan.
At this time, multiple myeloma is not considered curable, although current treatments may produce a complete remission in some patients (disappearance but not cure of the disease). The goals of treatment are to relieve pain and other symptoms, to slow the progress of the disease, and to detect and minimize complications as they occur. Doctors generally recommend that patients with multiple myeloma stay as active as possible to help preserve the calcium in their bones and drink plenty of fluids to help with kidney function. Complications such as infections, anemia, and bleeding should be promptly addressed with measures such as antibiotics and, when necessary, transfusions. Patients who do not have significant symptoms are monitored but may not receive any treatment. In early multiple myeloma, the side effects of the available treatments frequently outweigh the benefits.