I retrieved a Myeloma Canada pamphlet called “Could it be Myeloma?” from the Toronto Support Group and it hit home with me because it’s simple and informative. It contains all of the information I was seeking when I was progressing from MGUS to Smoldering Myeloma. It starts off by saying “Every day, 7 Canadians are diagnosed with myeloma. Do you know what to look for? This is my go-to reference sheet I use when my mom or siblings ask which tests they need to get to find out if they too have myeloma (I believe it runs in families, although I believe the scientific evidence is inconclusive).
Family Physicians are the key to early diagnosis because they are the first and most important person the patient will meet on the path to diagnosis. However, given that patients present with fatigue and pain many are not given proper follow-ups and are told to rest and take an analgesic. These patients are on average are in their mid-60s and this trend delays diagnosis, thereby increasing complications such as bone fractures and kidney problems that can affect quality of life long term.
A timely diagnosis will lead to better overall patient outcomes and therefore an aid leading toward diagnosis has been established. It’s called The Myeloma Pathway which outlines the common presentations, not so common presentations and outlines a list of recommended initial testing.