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 is used for multiple myeloma patients who have bone damage that has not responded to other treatments. Patients with symptoms of bone damage — including pain and numbness, tingling or muscle weakness — may find relief with radiation treatment.
Multiple myeloma can cause fractures of the vertebrae and ribs. Roswell Park’s Neuroradiology Service offers options for the treatment of pain related to these fractures and other conditions.
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 or Inhibitors of Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand (RANKL) to strengthen your bones, prevent bone thinning and help reduce the risk of fractures. These drugs may also help relieve bone pain. Bone-strengthening drugs used for multiple myeloma include zoledronate, pamidronate or denosumab.
Bisphosphonates and RANKL inhibitors may lead to severe disease of the jawbone, called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), especially in patients with diseased teeth. Our multiple myeloma patients who receive these medications are referred to our own in-house dentists, who specialize in caring for patients with cancer. However, if your personal dentist determines that your dental health is good enough for you to take bisphosphonates, you will not have to see the Roswell Park dentists.
Multiple myeloma patients can develop peripheral neuropathy — weakness, numbness, burning or tingling, usually in the hands or feet — as a result of either the disease or its treatment. A number of clinical trials have shown that acupuncture can help relieve those symptoms. Acupuncture is available through our Survivorship and Supportive Care Center.
If you experience pain that is difficult to control, you may benefit from the services of the Cancer Pain Management Service and Supportive and Palliative Care Program at Roswell Park. Using a team approach, these services unite 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. We want to emphasize that palliative care is a recommended component of cancer care for management of symptoms and side effects; it is not used only for end-of-life care.
Find out about the extensive support services available for our patients right here at Roswell Park.