Most frequently asked questions
Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the following topics:
Is the incidence of multiple myeloma rising?
In Canada, around 2,500 people receive a diagnosis of multiple myeloma each year. The annual incidence is 5.2 new cases per every 100,000 individuals.
The question of whether the incidence of multiple myeloma is rising is often asked because clinicians have the impression of seeing more patients with this diagnosis than before.
There is no evidence that the incidence of multiple myeloma is currently rising. Several facts may help to explain this impression:
- Longevity is increasing in our population, and the incidence of multiple myeloma increases with age;
- With better therapeutic tools, patients with multiple myeloma are living longer;
- With a therapeutic arsenal that is easier to tolerate, some patients who were not referred previously, are referred today.
Do you encourage me to participate in a clinical study?
This question is frequently asked by patients but is also applicable to doctors.
The improvement in survival, quality of life and general prognosis of patients with multiple myeloma does not happen by chance; it is the result of research, which includes patient participation in clinical research! So obviously, the referral of hematologists and medical oncologists for clinical studies, as well as patient participation in research, are more than encouraged.
Clinical research is conducted in an extremely rigorous and thorough way. Much attention is given to patient safety. Moreover, the research protocols have been approved by the ethics committee and the investigators and researchers follow the standards of good clinical practice.
We are still far from a cure, and much work remains to be done. We need to encourage physicians and patients to participate in clinical studies.
Can I get a second opinion?
Some doctors want to get a second opinion from a colleague with regard to the clinical situation of one of their patients with multiple myeloma. Similarly, many patients want a second opinion from another physician with expertise in the field of multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma treatments have become more complex in recent years and, as it is not a common disease, a second opinion may sometimes be desirable.
The easiest and quickest way to get a second opinion in the context of our health system and its limited resources is a phone call by the attending physician for advice and guidance on treatment plans.