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Multiple Myeloma

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At this time, multiple myeloma is not considered curable, although current treatments may produce a complete remission (disappearance but not cure of the disease) in some people. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain and other symptoms, to decrease or eliminate tumor burden, to slow the progress of the disease, and/or to detect and minimize complications as they occur.

Doctors generally recommend that people 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. People who do not have significant symptoms are monitored but may not receive any treatment.

If treatment is indicated, several newer drugs are available, and a combination of two or more drugs is typically used. For younger people (less than 70 years of age), hematopoietic (blood) cell transplantation may also be considered, either at the time of initial diagnosis or at relapse. For additional details about treatment, see the National Cancer Insitute's webpage on Multiple Myeloma.

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