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How Often Should I See My Myeloma Specialist If I’m in Remission with Normal Blood Work?

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Published on May 26, 2015

In this Ask the Expert segment featuring Dr. Robert Orlowski from MD Anderson Cancer Center, Mary wrote in with the question, â??For patients in remission and not on maintenance therapy, how often should I see my myeloma specialist if my normal blood work is not showing any signs of M-spike?â?? Dr. Orlowski shares his perspective on the frequency of appointments in this situation and why he likes to see these patients every two to three months.

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Transcript | How Often Should I See My Myeloma Specialist If I’m in Remission with Normal Blood Work?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Here’s a question we got in from our myeloma community member Mary. Mary writes, “For patients in remission and not on maintenance therapy, how often should I see my myeloma specialist if my normal blood work is not showing any signs of M-spike?”

Dr. Orlowski:

Patients who are in remission without an M-spike are one of the best groups in terms of prognosis.  For those who are not on any maintenance therapy, I usually will try to see them about every two or three months, because myeloma usually when it relapses and progresses does so fairly slowly. But in some patients it can be much more aggressive, and the difference of a couple of months can be significant in terms of catching the disease early so that we can start treatment before symptoms of the disease occur. 

The downside to waiting longer to detect disease progression is that if the disease is causing side effects, let's say for example that there is some element of kidney damage or there are new bone lesions, that can put the patient at risk for complications and also make them less able to tolerate the next line of treatment.  So I do every two to three months because I think the earlier you detect disease relapse if it occurs the better. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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