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Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma Survival Rates

Multiple myeloma varies widely between people in its severity and progression. Some people with multiple myeloma will live for years with minimal symptoms. Others have rapid progression of life-threatening multiple myeloma. Identifying the forms of multiple myeloma is often challenging for doctors.

Systems have been developed that attempt to predict a person's survival. The simplest and most common tool uses the blood levels of two substances: albumin and beta-2-microglobulin. A higher albumin level and a lower beta-2-microglobulin level suggest a better chance for prolonged survival.

Other systems use multiple lab tests or tests of the genetics (DNA) in plasma cells to predict survival.

Determining that a person has a more aggressive form of multiple myeloma can help guide treatment and life planning. However, even the best prediction system cannot say how long an individual person will live with the disease. Most people with multiple myeloma will live for years after their diagnosis.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on September 01, 2012

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