When I first heard the names multiple myeloma, smoldering myeloma, and MGUS there wasn’t a lot of information available. Most patients with myeloma had never heard of it prior to their diagnosis.

The recent updates in research have cast a new light on how patients are quantified. Through the work of the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), diagnostic criteria allows for earlier diagnosis. According to Dr. Vincent Rajkumar from Mayo Clinic, “We are now willing to treat multiple myeloma before symptoms happen.” It is no longer a wait and see situation for patients who are at high-risk of progression.

Previously the criteria called for the presence of one or more “CRAB” features: increased calcium levels, renal failure, anemia and destructive bone lesions. The new criteria includes 60% or more plasma cells in a bone marrow biopsy, one or more lesion noted on an MRI, and a patient’s involved or uninvolved free light chain that is above the normal range.

My thanks to the 180 members of the IMWG for their dedication and perseverance in finding ways for patients to live a full life all while dealing with myeloma.

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