Staging in Myeloma

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Dr. Sagar Lonial explains how myeloma staging is different than solid tumors like breast cancer. With myeloma, staging is determined by how quickly the disease divides or proliferates. Also, the importance of looking at precursors to myeloma is discussed.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Audience Member:

In most diseases they say if you catch it early you can work with it better or get better results or something, advance things, but I don’t know if that relates to the multiple myeloma or not. 

Dr. Lonial: 

Let’s skip ahead before I come back to the smoldering and MGUS kind of situation, but staging in myeloma is not the same as it is in other solid tumor malignancies like lung cancer or breast cancer where, if you have stage I lung cancer or breast cancer you cut out the problem and you move on.  In myeloma stages really refer to how rapidly the disease is dividing, or proliferating is the word that we use. 

When you have stage I versus stage III myeloma it’s systemic.  It’s in all the marrow for the most part, so you can’t say stage I means that you treat it this way where stage III means you’re metastatic.  That same analogy doesn’t apply to myeloma.  Now, what we do know about myeloma is that there are precursors to myeloma called smoldering myeloma or asymptomatic myeloma or MGUS. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.


Page last updated on December 19, 2013