Multiple Myeloma

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Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging TOPICS

Survival rates by stage for multiple myeloma

Doctors often use survival rates 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 won’t find the numbers helpful, or might 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” means 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’s important to remember that the median is just a kind of average researchers use. 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 is familiar with your situation and can tell you how the numbers below apply to you.

The numbers below are the approximate overall median survival using the International Staging System. These survival 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: 05/22/2014
Last Revised: 06/16/2014