Multiple Myeloma

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival rates by stage for multiple myeloma

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person's prognosis (outlook). Some patients with cancer may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. If you decide that you don’t want to know them, stop reading here and skip to the next section.

Median survival refers to the time it took for half of the patients in that group to die. By definition, half the patients lived longer than the median survival. It is important to remember that the median is just a kind of average used by researchers. No one is "average" and many people have much better outcomes than the median.

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person's case. Many other factors can affect your outlook, such as your age and general health, the treatment you received, and how well your cancer responds to treatment. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.

The numbers below are the approximate overall median survival for the International Staging System stages. These times are measured from the point that treatment, such as chemotherapy, first started. Many patients, such as those with indolent or smoldering myeloma, have a good deal of time after diagnosis before treatment is started. Also, these patients were treated anywhere from 5 to 25 years ago. Treatment since then has improved considerably and modern results are likely to be better.

    International Staging System Stage

    Median Survival

    Stage I

    62 months

    Stage II

    44 months

    Stage III

    29 months


Last Medical Review: 01/15/2013
Last Revised: 02/12/2013