Myeloma is a terminal cancer

frequently asked Questions

How common is multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma?

Multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma is the second most common malignant disease of the bone marrow and belongs to the group of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. It is a relatively rare cancer, accounting for about one percent of all cancers and about two percent of all cancer deaths. The European Cancer Registries estimate that 21,420 people are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma in Europe each year and around 15,000 people die from it. An estimated 60,000 people in Europe are currently living with this disease (UICC).

Who is most often affected?

Most multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma patients are over 60 years of age. It is concluded that the likelihood of developing this form of cancer increases with age. However, much younger people also develop multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma.

Can multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma be cured?

In the case of multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma, permanent cure is only possible in the case of an infestation localized only in one place (solitary multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma) and in younger patients after an allogeneic (from another person) bone marrow transplant. Otherwise, multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma cannot be cured with current treatment methods. The aim of therapy is therefore to extend your life and optimize your quality of life.

What is the life expectancy of people with multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma?

The average life expectancy from diagnosis is often given as five to eight years. However, these are only average values, so life expectancy can also be significantly higher. According to a study by the European Cancer Registry (2002), only about a third of all patients with multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma live longer than five years.

Is the disease contagious or hereditary?

Multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma is not contagious.
First-degree relatives (parents / siblings) of patients with multiple myeloma / plasmacytoma have an increased risk of developing it themselves, but it is not a hereditary disease in the narrower sense.

How do I interpret "forecast information"?

Please remember that with the same diagnosis there can be very different disease courses and therapy options. Statistics are fundamentally important for the course of one's own illness, but one should not make the mistake of overestimating or incorrectly assessing their informative value and therefore losing hope.

Here are a few explanatory words: One figure that keeps appearing is the so-called median life expectancy. A median life expectancy of five years, for example, does not mean, as is often assumed, that there are only five years left to live, but that half of the patients survive longer than five years. Within this group of patients who achieve the median (central value) there are also those who may even have been cured, i.e. who have in principle a normal life expectancy.

In addition, examination results only apply to the past. However, because the data was usually collected a certain period of time ago, the very latest therapeutic developments, which continue to improve the chances of recovery, of course, have not yet been taken into account. In addition, the examinations only ever relate to a certain subgroup of patients. The totality of all patients cannot be completely recorded in any examination.

Everyone reacts to medication and other measures individually. A prognosis, for example based on certain risk factors, can only be made specifically for the individual case. That is why there is no substitute for a personal conversation with your treating doctor. In spite of everything, how one's own illness will actually develop cannot be precisely foreseen.