This is a summary of an article where Dr Daryl Tan was interviewed for Ageless Online, that was featured 18 March 2013.

Multiple Myeloma

Ten years ago, those with multiple myeloma (MM) (also known as myeloma or plasma cell myeloma), a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells (plasma cells make antibodies called immunoglobulin which help fight off infections), were only living three to four years or less and were dying painful deaths. However, today, this cancer no longer is categorised as a terminal disease but a chronic one like diabetes, and those with MM, can expect to live up to 10 years, thanks to new treatments.

Number of Cases in Singapore

It affects 100 to 120 new patients in Singapore each year and the oldest patient was 92-year-old for Dr Daryl. However every year MM is misdiagnosed as one hundred to 120 is the minimal figure. This is based on the numbers gathered from the restructured hospitals. If we include private-sector patients as well, the number will be higher. There may also be patients who are asymptomatic and may not present to the doctor. For symptomatic patients, as the symptoms are non-specific, diagnosis may also be missed or delayed if the treating physicians do not think of myeloma and do not perform the screening test for myeloma.

Common Symptoms of MM

MM patients may experience symptoms requiring medical attention. However, some patients may not even have any symptoms or their symptoms may be vague. Common signs and symptoms of MM include bone pain, broken bones, nausea, vomiting, weakness and tiredness, frequent infections, nervous system problems, anaemia and hypercalcemia (a condition of too much calcium in the blood causing constipation, frequent thirst and urination, muscle aches, and kidney problems).

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