In addition to services related to diagnosis and treatment, multiple myeloma patients usually require other services to maintain a high quality of life. These services may include:
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is used for multiple myeloma patients who have bone damage that has not responded to other treatments. Patients with symptoms from bone damage — including pain and numbness, tingling or muscle weakness — may find relief with radiation treatment. Roswell Park’s Neuroradiology Service also offers kyphoplasty for the treatment of acute back pain related to vertebral fractures (fractures of the vertebrae, often caused by multiple myeloma and other cancers). Our neuroradiologists have extensive experience in performing this procedure, in which special bone cement is injected into the broken bones of the spine to stabilize the fracture and relieve pain. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and the patient is sedated. X-rays guide the physician to the exact locations of the fractures.
- Bone-strengthening treatment: Multiple myeloma cells interfere with bone growth and cause bone destruction, so bones can become thin wherever there are cancerous plasma cells. Your treatment may include drugs called bisphosphonates to strengthen your bones, prevent bone thinning, and help reduce the risk of fractures. These drugs may also help alleviate bone pain. Bisphosphonates may lead to severe disease of the jawbone, called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), especially in patients with diseased teeth. All of our multiple myeloma patients who receive these medications are referred to our own in-house dentists, who specialize in caring for patients with cancer. They may initiate treatment or work with your local dentist to manage any tooth problems to prevent ONJ.
- Pain management: If you experience pain that is difficult to control, you may benefit from the services of the Cancer Pain Management Service (CPMS) at Roswell Park. Using a team approach, the CPMS brings together the knowledge of anesthesiologists, psychologists, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, and social workers, who work together to develop a comprehensive pain management plan designed to meet your specific needs.