Survival Rates by Stage for Multiple Myeloma

Survival rates tell you what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. They can’t tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that your treatment will be successful. Some people will want to know the survival rates for their cancer, and some people won’t.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for a certain type of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 90% means that an estimated 90 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed. Keep in mind, however, that many of these people live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis.

Remember that all survival rates are estimates – your outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to you.

Survival rates don’t tell the whole story

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. There are a number of limitations to remember:

  • The numbers below are among the most current available. But to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. As treatments are improving over time, people who are now being diagnosed with multiple myeloma may have a better outlook than these statistics show.

  • These statistics are based on when the cancer was first diagnosed. They do not apply to cancers that later come back or spread, for example.

  • The outlook for people with multiple myeloma varies by the stage (extent) of the cancer – in general, the survival rates are higher for people with earlier stage cancers. But other factors can also affect a person’s outlook, such as their age and overall health, and how well the cancer responds to treatment. The outlook for each person is specific to his or her circumstances.

Your doctor can tell you how these numbers apply to you.

Survival rates for multiple myeloma

Remember, these survival rates are only estimates – they can’t predict what will happen to any individual person. We understand that these statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk to your doctor to better understand your specific situation.

The numbers below are the approximate median survival using the Revised International Staging System of just over 3,000 myeloma patients treated between 2005 and 2012. These survival times are measured from the point that treatment, such as chemotherapy, first started. Since 2000 the percent of patients living five years after diagnosis has been increasing. Treatment since then has improved considerably and modern survival results are likely to be better.

Revised International Staging System

Median Survival

Stage I

Has not been reached

Stage II

83 months

Stage III

43 months

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Palumbo A, Avet-Loiseau H, Oliva S, et al. Revised International Staging System for Multiple Myeloma: A Report From International Myeloma Working Group. J Clin Oncol. August 2015. 

SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2014. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2017.

Last Medical Review: February 28, 2018 Last Revised: February 28, 2018

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