Currently, there is no known cure for myeloma but it can be effectively treated. Myeloma is a very individual cancer and therefore it can be difficult to predict with any degree of certainty how well patients will do on treatment and how long they are likely to live.
Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that five-year survival rates in myeloma are increasing at one of the fastest paces among all cancer types in the UK.
This recent study reported that over one-third of myeloma patients will survive for at least five years. Previous studies have suggested that over 10% of patients will survive for more than 10 years. However, this study related to patients diagnosed some time ago therefore it is very likely that this figure will be even better now.
Looking forward, it is hoped that these improvements will continue. Over the past five to 10 years there has been a significant increase in the number of drugs available to treat myeloma and this has helped improve survival and improve the quality of life of myeloma patients.
Researchers are continuously increasing their knowledge of the genetics of myeloma and this is likely to lead to tailored treatment for individual patients – maximising a patient's response to treatment as well as minimising treatment side-effects.