When Is Radiation Appropriate As a Myeloma Therapy?

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Topics include: Treatments

When considering treatment for multiple myeloma, where does radiation come into play? Dr. Robert Orlowski, director of the myeloma department at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, explains specific instances where radiation is effective, and sometimes curative.

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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. 

Jack Aiello:

Dr. Orlowski, when is radiation therapy used?

Dr. Orlowski:

Radiation therapy can be very helpful in a couple of areas. First of all, it can be very good for people who are having pain due to myeloma, especially if it’s from a fracture, if it cannot be controlled with oral medication. That’s one area.  A second area is some people don’t have multiple myeloma where there are several spots that are involved. 

Some people just have what’s called a solitary plasmacytoma where the myeloma cells are just present in one location. And if you radiate that, sometimes those patients can be completely cured.  And I would say that the third area where radiation can be important is, sometimes, unfortunately, the myeloma can be present in the bones around the spine and can put some pressure on the spinal cord, which can cause pain or weakness or, in the hopefully not very common case, even paralysis. And one of the best ways to kill those myeloma cells very quickly and try to recover that function is by doing radiation therapy usually with steroids in that situation.

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. 

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Page last updated on August 20, 2015