Every year, between three and five cases of multiple myeloma (MM) are diagnosed in this country per 100,000 inhabitants, which means approximately 10% of all hematological cancers and 1% of all types of cancer. An incidence that is not very high in a tumor that is usually diagnosed especially in adults between 65 and 75 years, but tends to increase progressively due to population aging, as pointed out by Dr. Raquel de Oña, head of the Department of Hematology at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid, on the occasion of World Multiple Myeloma Day, on Tuesday, September 5.
Although there is no curative treatment for this disease as yet, Dr. Oña does point out that "the therapeutic advances of recent years in this disease have greatly extended the life expectancy and quality of life of patients with this diagnosis”. The effectiveness results of new, targeted treatments are "very encouraging", emphasizes the doctor, who also remains cautious and points to the importance of "being cautious and always assessing these options within the framework of controlled clinical trials".
In addition, the specialist in hematology also highlights the advances that have made it possible to detect factors of poor prognosis of the disease, such as certain cytogenetic alterations, some advances that have contributed to making it possible today to administer treatments that are increasingly personalized and adapted to each one of our patients.
On the symptoms of MM and the possibility of an early diagnosis, Dr. Oña emphasizes that there are no specific symptoms that point to a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, but that there are health protocols by which anyone presenting certain analytical or clinical data that may suggest a hematological disease is referred to the specialist in hematology. Once there is a definite diagnosis, the patient, Dr. Oña explains, can present more frequent symptoms like "bone pain and bone fractures, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, kidney damage, frequent infections or bleeding".
In her opinion, one of the most important aspects in the treatment of multiple myeloma is the multidisciplinary management of the patient. "Collaboration between different professionals is essential to be able to offer better care and treatment," emphasizes Dr. Oña, who considers joint treatment of these patients by the Hematology and Traumatology services and a Pain Unit to be fundamental.