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Risk Factors, Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment | Additional Patient Support

The experienced, collaborative team of specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center combines the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care, creating a program of personalized medicine and patient-centered care for each individual diagnosed with myeloma.

Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Kellogg Cancer Center team works collaboratively and is dedicated to putting patients—and families—at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.

Myeloma Risk Factors, Screening and Diagnosis

Myeloma is a cancer of a type of white blood cells called plasma cells, found primarily in the bone marrow. Myeloma destroys normal bone marrow tissue and slows normal blood cell production. The cancerous cells produce an immunoglobulin protein, also known as an antibody. Because there is a single clone of cells producing the same specific protein, it is known as a monoclonal protein. The production of other normal antibody proteins may be suppressed.

There are no known or identifiable risk factors for myeloma. The first symptom of myeloma may be bone pain. Patients may also be anemic, tire more easily, and feel weakness. Recurrent infections or bone fractures may also be signs of myeloma.

There is no established screening for myeloma. Symptomatic patients may undergo a variety of pathology tests to establish histology. Tests may include blood and urine tests, a bone marrow biopsy, or sometimes tissue biopsies.

Once diagnosed, Myeloma is staged using further blood tests, urine tests, bone marrow biopsy and aspirate, and CT scans and PET scans. The severity of the myeloma is determined by the stage, as well as other biologic markers such as evaluation of the chromosomes (cytogenetics) in the bone marrow sample.

Personalized Myeloma Treatment

Chemotherapy, including targeted chemotherapy, has led to sustained remissions in some patients. Often a multi-drug therapy is employed. Thalidomide and its derivatives, such as lenalidomide, have been found to be effective in the treatment of myeloma. 

Treatment of the pain associated with myeloma can include medications, radiation therapy, surgery and complementary pain management techniques.Certain drugs can halt the progression of bone lesions caused by the myeloma. Radiation can be used to shrink existing bone lesions and relieve pain; surgery may be used to repair and relieve the pain from bone fractures.

It is not uncommon for chemotherapy to be followed by stem cell reinfusion. Kellogg Cancer Center has an accredited program by The Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy for autologous stem cell transplantation.

In addition to personalized treatment, the care team for patients undergoing high doses of chemotherapy holds meetings within the Blood Bank to determine the best course of action for each patient, which can include stem cell reinfusions, the need to administer additional chemotherapy and other therapies. 

Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets in a multidisciplinary conference to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. For myeloma, your team may include your hematologistsurgeon, radiation oncologist, geneticist, pathologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, interventional radiologist, social worker and researchers, all focused on you. This "meeting of the minds" provides critical input, resulting in an individualized care plan outlining the best course of action for each patient.

Patients are at the center of this multidisciplinary team, and Kellogg staff arrange for them to be seen by their multidisciplinary team at one appointment, not only for their convenience but to provide a consensus on their course of treatment. Our use of one of the most advanced Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in the country enhances our open communication and promotes collaboration in our patient care.

Additional Patient Support

Kellogg Cancer Center’s unique services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.

For More Information

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.