Fellow Floridian and myeloma survivor, Gary Petersen, hosts a website, MyelomaSurvival.com. On it, Gary stresses how important it is to be treated somewhere that specializes in multiple myeloma. In a feature article that ran on MedPage Today after ASH last month, myeloma specialist, Dr. Noopur Raji, agrees:
“What it really tells me is that some of [survival may have] to do with access to drugs and access to therapies,” she said. Access to the latest treatments is more likely at academic centers, she noted.
The clinical implication for patients is that “if you have a center which focuses on this disease, go to that site,” she said.
Dr. Raji is a myeloma specialist and was discussing a recent study by Mayo Clinic which had studied almost 28,000 patients newly diagnosed in 1998 through 2000 and observed the following findings:
For instance, more than 10% of patients treated at academic centers lived longer than 10 years, compared with about 5% treated at community cancer centers.
Similarly, more than 20% of those who had a stem cell transplant as part of initial therapy lived more than a decade, compared with about 5% of those who did not.
You are therefore 2 times more likely to survive 10 years if you are treated at an academic institution. And if you look at the specialists listed on this site most are from academic institutions. So it could just be another chicken or the egg, or both, question. You can read Pat’s entire article if your CLICK HERE. In the article, Dr. Raji also goes into more detail into the surprising advantage of early stem cell transplant, over later or no transplant.
But the fact remains if you find a specialist for your incurable or stage 4 cancer, you can survive for as much as 2 to 5 times longer than if you were not treated by a specialist. However, as Sharon states, many curable cancers or 80% of cases have not metastasized and can be treated successfully at a community oncologist.
I have worked with many myeloma specialists who have gone out of their way to provide their survival information for myelomasurvival.com, and these doctors are my heroes and are helping to prove that survival performance measurement can SAVE LIFE. In addition, I had recently helped two friends who had asked me if there were specialist listings for colon cancer and breast cancer, both of which are very common cancers. And there was nothing that I could find, however I could do a search with the heading “Stage 4 Colon Cancer survival rates” and find that some information by hospital is available. You can find a few doctors and hospitals that have survival rates 2 to 5 times greater than the national averages for both stage 4 breast and colon cancer. I have a blog post on how to find a myeloma specialist, and the same search methods can be used for any stage 4 cancer. You can read this post if you CLICK HERE.