Understanding Your Multiple Myeloma Treatment Options

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If you have multiple myeloma (MM) and your symptoms are really troubling you, treatment can help while slowing down the progress of the cancer. If you aren’t experiencing any of the symptoms quite yet, treatment might not be necessary, but like with any condition, it’s important to closely monitor your symptoms. Although there’s no cure for MM, patients can live a normal life with the right treatment plan. So, what are your treatment options once you’ve been diagnosed with MM? We’re glad you asked! Here are the six most common treatment options for MM patients.

1. Targeted therapy

Bortezomib (Velcade) and carfilzomib (Kyprolis) are used in targeted therapy, and they’re given through a vein in your arm. Here’s how they work: Myeloma cells contain a substance that breaks down your proteins, which is obviously not good. These drugs come to the rescue by blocking that substance, which causes the myeloma cells to die.

2. Biological therapy

The following drugs are used in biological therapy: thalidomide (Thalomid), lenalidomide (Revlimid), and pomalidomide (Pomalyst). They come in a pill form, but more importantly, these drugs build up your body’s immune system so that it can fight myeloma cells.

3. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs work by killing fast-growing cells, such as myeloma cells and can be given through a vein in your arm. They also come in the form of a pill.

4. Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids regulate your immune system to prevent inflammation in the body and act against myeloma cells. Like chemotherapy, corticosteroids can be given through a vein in your arm or they can be taken in a pill form.

5. Stem cell transplantation

The purpose of getting a stem cell transplant is to have your diseased bone marrow replaced with a healthy bone marrow. High doses of chemotherapy are administered before the procedure, in order to destroy the diseased bone marrow. After that? Stem cells are infused into your body so they can begin to rebuild your bone marrow.

6. Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses beams of energy to stop myeloma cells from growing, ultimately destroying them.


Reviewed by: Dr. Melvin Gaskins