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Multiple myeloma month 2024

Multiple myeloma month 2024

Every year, 700 people in Belgium receive the diagnosis of multiple myeloma.1 Although it may not sound familiar, multiple myeloma, or Kahler's disease, is one of the three most common blood cancers.2 From that moment, a challenging journey begins, where the patient and their loved ones are overwhelmed with emotions, information, and difficult decisions.

March is Multiple Myeloma Month

Every person has plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that normally plays a crucial role in the body's immune system. Multiple myeloma is a form of blood cancer that occurs when these plasma cells start growing uncontrollably. These malignant plasma cells settle in the bone marrow, displacing the normal blood-forming cells. Because it are often multiple malignant plasma cells that nest in the bone marrow, the disease is called multiple myeloma. In March, during Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month, we focus on raising awareness about this disease and supporting all those affected by it.

Identification with CRAB Criteria

Recognizing the early stages of multiple myeloma can be difficult as symptoms are typically vague or not distinctly evident, often resulting in delayed diagnosis. To enhance the disease's recognition for both physicians and patients, the CRAB criteria are employed. These criteria encompass four symptoms associated with multiple myeloma:

  • Calcium, referring to an elevated calcium level in the blood

  • Renal, referring to kidney dysfunction

  • Anemia, referring to blood deficiency

  • Bone, referring to bone involvement

The patient guide “Living with multiple myeloma” leads the way 

In partnership with patient associations CPM Vlaanderen vzw and Mymu vzw Wallonië-Brussel, along with hematologists and oncocoaches, we've crafted an extensive patient guide. This guide provides a clear understanding of what multiple myeloma entails, outlines available treatments, and explores how fellow patients can offer support. This unique collaboration ensures a guide that prioritizes the patient's perspective and their specific needs. Packed with practical tips for managing the disease, the guide also offers valuable information for caregivers and other close associates. Moreover, healthcare professionals can gain a deeper understanding of the needs of individuals with multiple myeloma through this resource, addressing not only the physical but also the profound emotional impact of the disease.

Mental support is so important. Of all the health care providers, I surprisingly get it the most from my physiotherapist. I think because through the whole process she has always continued to support me, and perhaps also understood best the impact multiple myeloma had on my life.

Els - multiple myeloma patient

An empowered role in the treatment process

Patient empowerment is central to the guide. People with multiple myeloma learn to become "empowered" so they can take a more active role in their health and disease process, depending on what is important to them. Using reliable information and practical tips, patients can ask targeted questions to their healthcare provider, making it easier to make decisions with the doctor. In addition, you will find suggestions for lifestyle changes that can contribute to a better quality of life. For example, the importance of proper nutrition, sufficient fluid intake and adequate exercise is emphasized. Finally, we refer to peer organizations that can offer support. Discover the guide in Dutch and in French to access a wealth of knowledge, find the guidance you need and remember… you are not alone.

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©Janssen-Cilag NV, a Johnson and Johnson company – EM-149164 – approval date 02-2024 – vu/er Luc van Oevelen, Antwerpseweg 15-17, 2340 Beerse