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Stage I Multiple Myeloma


Stage I multiple myeloma occurs when there is a relatively small amount of cancer in the body.

A variety of factors ultimately influence a patient’s decision to receive treatment of cancer. The purpose of receiving cancer treatment may be to improve symptoms through local control of the cancer, increase a patient’s chance of cure, or prolong a patient’s survival. The potential benefits of receiving cancer treatment must be carefully balanced with the potential risks of receiving cancer treatment.

The following is a general overview of the treatment of stage I multiple myeloma. Circumstances unique to your situation and prognostic factors of your cancer may ultimately influence how these general treatment principles are applied. The information on this Web site is intended to help educate you about your treatment options and to facilitate a mutual or shared decision-making process with your treating cancer physician.

Most new treatments are developed in clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies that evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs or treatment strategies. The development of more effective cancer treatments requires that new and innovative therapies be evaluated with cancer patients. Participation in a clinical trial may offer access to better treatments and advance the existing knowledge about treatment of this cancer. Clinical trials are available for most stages of cancer. Patients who are interested in participating in a clinical trial should discuss the risks and benefits of clinical trials with their physician. To ensure that you are receiving the optimal treatment of your cancer, it is important to stay informed and follow the cancer news in order to learn about new treatments and the results of clinical trials.

The major decisions concerning treatment of stage I multiple myeloma are if and when treatment should be initiated. It may be useful to think of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), smoldering multiple myeloma, and stage I multiple myeloma as a continuation or gradual progression of multiple myeloma. Patients with these conditions do not require immediate treatment, as these conditions may persist and be stable for several years. Patients should be followed at regular intervals by their physician, however, in order to detect clinical signs or symptoms that indicate myeloma progression.1

Signs of progression and common reasons for initial treatment of myeloma include the following:

  • A steady increase in the amount of serum or urine monoclonal or M-protein.
  • Development of bone lesions.
  • Worsening kidney function.
  • Anemia
  • Hypercalcemia

For a general discussion of the treatment options that exist for patients experiencing myeloma progression, proceed to the Treatment Overview of Stage II-III Multiple Myeloma.


1 National Comprehensive Cancer Network.  NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™: Multiple Myeloma. V.1.2008. © National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2005/2006. NCCN and NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK are registered trademarks of National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc.

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Multiple Myeloma FACT SHEET

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that begins in the plasma cells of the body. Plasma cells are white blood cells which reside in the bone marrow, generate antibodies, and help fight infections. Researchers do not know the cause of multiple myeloma but are making progress in understanding how plasma cells become cancerous. When myeloma develops, the cells can create tumors called plasmacytomas. A single plasma cell tumor is called solitary or isolated plasmacytoma. When the cancerous plasma cells are widespread throughout the bone marrow, the disease is called multiple myeloma. The prognosis for multiple myeloma can vary between individuals and has recently improved substantially with new medications, CAR-T therapy, and stem cell transplant techniques.

Bill and Karen Peary

Patient Story: Bill and Karen Peary

“We don’t get to choose the hardships we go through, but we can choose how we go through them.”