This is a summary of an article featuring Dr Daryl Tan in The Straits Times, Mar 2022.

What is Myeloma?

Myeloma is a type of cancer that develops from cells in one’s bone marrow. It usually affects older people. Almost all patients may relapse and the disease is generally considered incurable. Myeloma used to be a terminal cancer where the average survival rate was between four to five tears.

Choices of Treatments Depends on Several Factors

Depending how aggressive the relapse is – whether the cancer has grown rapidly and damaged the body in a short time. It also depends on whether there is a bad mutation in the myeloma cells, which means that existing medicine maybe not be suitable for certain mutations. Moreover drugs that patient was exposed to and whether the patient developed resistance to them.

Treatments Available for Those Who Experienced a Relapse

Classes of drugs that are available in Singapore includes Proteasome inhibitors, Immunomodulator drugs, Monoclonal antibodies or immunoconjugates. It is also worth considering going for an autologous stem cell transplantation if it was not previously done. This involves taking healthy stem cells from the body and re-introducing them back after treatment with a strong course of chemotherapy. The treatment is recommended for patients who are younger than 70 at the time of diagnosis. For the best results with these agents, the treatment strategy is to aim for a deep remission or have minimal cancer cells whenever possible.

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