Don’t miss myeloma

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.

Laura Kerby CEO

“We are very concerned that hundreds of people are experiencing myeloma symptoms and not being seen by a GP or haematologist because of COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, one third of myeloma patients were diagnosed through an emergency route, and delayed diagnosis is associated with an increase in severe complications, such as spinal cord compression and kidney failure.

That’s why we’re asking our supporters to help us tell as many people as possible about the most common symptoms of myeloma and urge anyone who is experiencing new, persistent, or unusual symptoms to speak to their GP. Don’t put the conversation off. Don’t miss myeloma.”

Laura Kerby, Myeloma UK CEO

The most recognisable symptoms of myeloma


Persistent pain, usually in the back, ribs or hips, without a clear cause that doesn’t go away even when resting

Easily broken bones

Breaks or fractures to bones – particularly in the back, rib cage or hips – that happen more easily than they should


Persistent tiredness or breathlessness that can’t be explained by anything else

Recurring infection

Recurring or persistent infections e.g. throat, chest or urinary

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or suspect something isn’t right, then speak to your GP.

Diagnosis Stories

Three myeloma patients shared their diagnosis story with us, in the hope of helping others to spot myeloma and get diagnosed faster.

More information

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