Don’t miss myeloma

We’re raising awareness of the most common symptoms of myeloma and hearing from myeloma patients how they knew their symptom wasn’t ‘normal’ to ensure no one misses myeloma.

If you suspect something isn’t right with your health, we encourage you to speak to your GP.

Myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that, as it advances, becomes more difficult to treat. Unfortunately, there is no single symptom of myeloma, and the most recognisable symptoms are common and often linked to general ageing or minor conditions, making it difficult to detect.

1 in 4 myeloma patients wait over ten months to get the right diagnosis, and almost a third of patients are diagnosed through an emergency route. The COVID-19 pandemic caused additional barriers to myeloma diagnosis, so the wait for many will have been longer. At the peak of the pandemic, nearly half of the people with possible cancer symptoms didn’t see a GP, and waiting times for key diagnostic tests increased.

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.

Sophie Castell Bio Photo

“We are encouraging anyone experiencing the common symptoms of myeloma in a way that doesn’t feel normal to them to visit their GP. You can help us reach as many people as possible by sharing our video and infographics.

Since March 2020, fewer people than expected have been diagnosed with cancer, with myeloma showing one of the biggest falls in the number of new cases. We are worried that these missing diagnoses could lead to an increase in the number of people being diagnosed late with severe complications. We have to act now.

Our A Life Worth Living report showed that 49% of patients with a delayed diagnosis suffered a high impact on their quality of life –from broken spines and bones to kidney failure and complex mental health issues. Help us encourage anyone with symptoms to seek help as early as possible and make sure they don’t miss myeloma.”

Sophie Castell, Myeloma UK CEO

The most recognisable symptoms of myeloma

Pain

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

Fatigue

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

Diagnosing myeloma starts with a suspicion

Senior Scientific Knowledge and Communications Officer, Dr Caroline Donoghue, discusses the importance of swift and accurate myeloma diagnosis.

Helpful Guides


If you would like to learn more about myeloma and its symptoms you can read our Myeloma – An Introduction Infoguide

Scott’s diagnosis story

Myeloma patient Scott Meech shares his diagnosis experience and how he is committed to promoting the benefits of early diagnosis.

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