Myeloma is an incurable blood cancer which, as it advances, becomes more difficult to treat. Unfortunately, there is no single symptom of myeloma and the most recognisable symptoms of myeloma are common and often linked to general ageing or minor conditions, making it difficult to detect.
Currently, more than half of patients wait over five months to get the right diagnosis and around one third of myeloma patients are diagnosed through an emergency route. We also know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional barriers to myeloma diagnosis so the wait for many will be longer. At the peak of the pandemic nearly half of the people with possible cancer symptoms didn’t see a GP and there are still people who aren’t having their symptoms checked due to a fear of bothering their doctors or putting more strain on the NHS.
But early diagnosis is key to ensuring myeloma patients have the best possible treatment options and quality of life.
If you have noticed a change in your health – feeling tired more than usual, a niggling persistent pain, an infection (e.g. chest, bladder) you just can’t shift – or just feel something is wrong, go to your GP and get it checked out.