SAN DIEGO, February 25, 2014 — Approximately 70,000 Americans are living with the effects of multiple myeloma.
At age 74, award-wining veteran journalist and accomplished writer, Tom Brokaw, stands among them.
Brokaw announced his courageous fight against this incurable form of cancer publicly earlier this month.
According to Brokaw’s colleague, Brian Williams, in People Magazine, “Tom keeps saying to me, 1,600 people get diagnosed with cancer every day, and he’s just one of them.”
Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer which manifests within bone marrow.
The Mayo Clinic indicates that plasma cells become cancerous and multiply, increasing the number of plasma cells to a higher than normal level, which can then be released within the bone marrow causing bone to weaken or dissolve.
Ultimately, progression of the disease includes cells spilling out into the bloodstream, spreading disease to internal organs.
Symptoms such as bone pain, leg weakness, fatigue, weight loss and repeated infections could be indicators of multiple myeloma.
These symptoms would indicate the need for prompt attention by a qualified health care professional.
There are a variety of risk factors associated with the onset of multiple myeloma, as stated by the Mayo Clinic:
-Age–most diagnoses occur from age 50 to 65.
-Sex–men develop multiple myeloma more frequently than women.
-Race–blacks are twice as likely to develop this disease than whites.
-History of monoclonal gammopathy (MGUS)–one percent of those with MGUS develop multiple myeloma.
-Obesity–risk increase in those overweight or obese.
-Exposure to radiation.
-Working in petroleum-related industries.
Though there is currently no known cure for multiple myeloma, it is entirely possible to manage this disease with a variety of drug therapies, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and radiation treatments, as determined by a physician.
Additional treatment options are also available through complementary medicine, alternative medicine, and integrative medicine which may help to provide new approaches for successfully managing multiple myeloma.
The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) provides information and resources and may be contacted by calling:
Toll-free in the U.S: 1-888-644-6226
Multiple myeloma has an average survival rate of 5 years (35%), according to MedicineNet.com.
However, with a variety of newly available treatment options including stem cell transplants and non-chemotherapy medications which are now able to target cancer cells, there is hope for extending the lives of those with multiple myeloma.
It is estimated that a lifespan of approximately 7 to 10 years following diagnosis is entirely possible, according to Dr. Frederic Reu, associate staff physician at Cleveland Clinic.
Brokaw expressed his vision for the future with his customary frankness: “I remain the luckiest guy I know. I am very grateful for the interest in my condition. But I also hope everyone understands I wish to keep this a private matter.”
To receive further information regarding multiple myeloma, contact:
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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