Multiple Myeloma Survival Improved To 5 Years! Yeah!!! And My Future Survival Prediction For the Next Two Years.

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If you are a myeloma patient, you have to love this news.  When I was diagnosed there was little data available, but I do remember a Mayo publication which said the average life expectancy was 33 months and had not changed in a decade.  The new patients can now look at the new data represented in the graph below, and it looks as though the sky is the limit for survival.  And if you are lucky enough to make it through the first 2 years after diagnosis, the sky IS the limit.  We unfortunately still lose 30% of patients in the first 2 years, and this has not changed much in the last 10 years.  This has everything to do with late diagnosis, inadequate treatment for the newly diagnosed patients. I will leave further discussion on this subject to another post.  But now let us celebrate some outstanding news.  For the new SEER data published on 4/15/16 CLICK HERE.

gary's seer chart

On a blog post last year I predicted this would be the year life expectancy reached 5 years, and you can view my prior prediction if you CLICK HERE.  My new prediction is that in two more years life expectancy will increase by another year to 6 years.

Below is a look at the history of the survival for myeloma in the USA and my prediction.

Year Survival Milestones Years Between Milestones
1975 2 Years
1998 3 Years 23
2004 4 Years 6
2008 5 Years 4
2010 (Prediction) 6 Years 2

As you can note in the graph and list above, the pace of change has increased significantly to where we are improving life expectancy by one year, in just two years. Whereas, it took 23 years to improve survival by just one year in 1975.  And if you have not noticed, the drastic increase in the rate of improvement started in the early 2000’s which coincides with the development of  IMIDs (Thalomid, Revlimid) and the proteasome inhibitor (Velcade).

With 4 new drugs approved for myeloma in 2015, and two of them representing a new class of drugs (checkpoint inhibitor and monoclonal antibody), we can expect continued improvement for the patients who are fortunate enough to be diagnosed in a timely fashion. The 30% who do not make it 2 years will not share in this because of late diagnosis, wrong diagnosis, and poor first line treatment.  More on this subject later.

Good luck and may God Bless your Cancer Journey.   For more information on multiple myeloma survival rates and treatments CLICK HERE and you can follow me on twitter at: https://twitter.com/grpetersen1

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About Author

Gary is a myeloma survivor and patient advocate. His work centers around helping patients live longer by helping them to find facilities who are beating the average survival statistics. You can find Gary's site at www.myelomasurvival.com and follow him on Twitter at @grpetersen1

4 Comments

  1. I was initially diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma in early January 2007 after 2 of the vertebrae in my spine collapsed in December 2006 when only leaning over at work one day. This was due to the MM damaging my vertebrae by getting into the bone marrow. Those 2 vertebrae collapsing likely saved my life because that’s why I went to the doctor because I had gotten so I could barely walk. I’m like most men, in that I would have never went to the doctor soon enough to catch the cancer before it reached stage 4 if I hadn’t got so bad I could barely walk anymore. After 7 months of IV chemo and a autologous stem cell transplant at Wake Forest University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in July 2007 my MM went into remission. It returned in stage 1 in May 2010, but after 8 months of 25 mg Revlimid it went into remission a second time and has remained in remission ever since so as of this date I have survived multiple myeloma for 9 years and 3 months since initial diagnosis! I still take twenty-one 15 mg Revlimid capsules out of ever twenty-eight days as a maintenance drug and so far, so good!

  2. Cliff congratulations! Nine years ago the life expectancy was 3 years, so you are beating the odds. Like you said maybe the spine issues was a blessing in disguise. I think one day we will all be screened at age 40 and no one will ever have to endure the ravages of late stage myeloma. Iceland will be testing their entire population so most will be found in the MGUS or Smoldering Phase where life expectancy is more than 2 times greater than for stage 3. You can read about screening at the following blog post: http://myelomasurvival.com/myeloma-blog/is-screening-myelomas-new-frontier-the-entire-country-of-iceland-will-screen-for-myeloma-and-could-double-their-myeloma-life-expectancy

    Best Regards/Gary Petersen

  3. Madeline Michelle on

    Gary, thank you for this info. It brings me a lot of hope. I was diagnosed in March, 2014, did testing until until July 1 and after four rounds of Dex-Rev-Vel, I did a tandem auto SCT. (2 in 95 days) My second SCT was Feb. 25, 2015. It was tough but I told the doc I wanted the most aggressive treatment they had AND my 20 years. My family lives into their 80’s and 90’s and I did not want to be denied. I feel very blessed to walk away from this with only a broken rib, an immune system that is getting stronger. My neuropathy in my hands, legs and feet limit my mobility but I take Gabapentin for it and it helps. Chemo brain has improved but not disappeared and I’m on Acyclovir to keep the shingles away. Every 3 months I get a Zometa infusion for the bones. No maintenance. I am CR since my 3rd round of Dex-Rev-Vel. Went for the gusto anyway. I gave the disease a year of treatment, a year of recovery and now I get my life back. Thank you for all you do. God bless

  4. Madeline, I think your story is one of how to become your own best advocate, learn as much as you can about your disease and find the course of treatment you feel right for you. It is patients like you who I see living 10, 20, and 30 years when the average is still just 5 years. Thank you for your kind words. Good luck and God Bless your families myeloma journey. Gary

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