‘Late diagnosis a concern in treating myeloma’

October 11, 2019 01:17 am | Updated 01:17 am IST - CHENNAI

Late diagnosis remains the major cause of concern in treating cases of myeloma, a type of blood cancer caused by malignancy of plasma cells originating in the bone marrow, said doctors who attended a conference on myolema at MIOT International hospital on Thursday.

Vincent Rajkumar, Professor of Medicine and Haemato-Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, United States, a pioneer in the treatment of myeloma, said it was likely that only around 10 to 15% of cases in India are detected. “Doctors here say that around 1,500 to 2,000 new cases are reported every year. Considering that myeloma is likely to be more prevalent among the Indian population than in countries like the US, it is possible that majority of the cases go undiagnosed,” he said.

Kishore Kumar, haematologist and bone marrow transplant physician, MIOT International, Chennai, said myeloma presents itself through symptoms that may be diagnosed for other problems. “The most common symptom is bone pain. Patients may try a number of treatments for this without diagnosing if it is case of myeloma. Similarly, anaemia and renal failure could also be symptoms of myeloma,” he said.

He acknowledged that awareness was needed among physicians to rule out the possibility of myeloma, particularly when bone pain or anaemia remains untreatable through usual treatment procedures.

Chezhian Subash, head, Haematology, Haemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, MIOT International, said myelomacan now be treated through a combination of oral medication and bone marrow transplants.

“Affordability is not a major issue due to availability of inexpensive drugs and government-sponsored insurance schemes,” he said.

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