Myeloma Beacon’s – “Choosing a Mutiple Myeloma Specialist” My two cents!


The Myeloma Beacon recently ran an article on how to “Choose a Multiple Myeloma Specialist”, and although well written, it seems to minimize the one absolutely key requirement. Other than in the title it did not emphasize the  necessity to make sure the person is a skilled multiple myeloma specialist.

You can read the article if you CLICK HERE.  It says you can find the one specialist  who is right for you if you answer the following questions.

1. Is the doctor a Teller or an Asker?
2. Is the doctor well established?
3. Does the doctor have ties to the area?
4. Is the doctor certified in hematology?
5. Is the doctor covered by your insurance?
6. How much are you willing to do to get the doctor you want?

All good questions, but only after you are satisfied that the doctor is one of the 100 or so SKILLED multiple myeloma specialists in the USA and maybe double that worldwide.  I left the following two comments, which I hoped would help to make this point, however for some reason my comments are considered spam, or they chose to leave them in limbo awaiting moderation.  I obviously irritate someone at the Beacon.  It is for this reason I have chosen to write this article because I feel my two comments are worth airing.  And for all of those who feel their comments have been censored about this subject, please feel free to provide them in my comments section.  My comments were as follows:

Comment 1 –

I think the most important part of this article is the title, “Choosing A Multiple Myeloma Specialist”. Based on the National Cancer Institute’s data, the average life expectancy is just 4 years, whereas many Myeloma Specialist’s provide survival data of 8 to 12 years on average.  If you find one who is more compatible with your needs, all the better.  But with maybe 100 really good ones in the US, availability, supply and demand may play a major role.  Best to all on your myeloma journey.

Comment 2 –

Paul, your main point is right on, “find a multiple myeloma specialist which fits your requirements” if possible. However, there is no degree called Multiple Myeloma Cancer Specialist that I am aware of. I will provide you with what I believe is the definition of a Multiple Myeloma specialist.
Characteristics of Multiple Myeloma Specialists
1. First, they are usually hematologist-oncologists.
2. They practice at hospitals that have a defined MM treatment program or department.
3. They attend the big MM seminars, ASH (the American Society of Hematology) and ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology).
4. They have MM publications and have most likely given presentation at ASH and ASCO.
5. They participate in clinical trials for MM.
6. They usually are located at larger, more prestigious hospitals like Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, MIRT (Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy) at UAMS, Moffitt Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center et al.
7. The facility or department where they are located has myeloma in the name, like UAMS-MIRT or IMBCR( Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research).
Another step in finding a specialist near you is to search the web using the key phrase “(insert your state) Multiple Myeloma Treatment Centers”, or “(insert your state) Multiple Myeloma Treatment Programs”. If you find a Multiple Myeloma specialist, or you want to get more information on one of the doctors listed here, you can search his name as follows: “Dr.(insert the name) Multiple Myeloma Specialist”. If you get a lot of great multiple myeloma information, chances are you have someone who is 95% more qualified than your average local oncologist. Just try this with a google search of Dr. Rajkumar, Dr. Barlogie, Dr. Berenson, Dr. Durie, or Dr. Palumbo.

I hope that this helps you to find a multiple myeloma specialist, and I have found some patients will get a consult with one of the best MM specialists and have the treatment in their local area using one of the 500 CIBMTR (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research) facilities. Not all hematologist/oncologists are skilled multiple myeloma specialists.

Just wanted to have a chance to put my two cents into the conversation.  Good luck and may God Bless your Cancer Journey.   For more information on multiple myeloma survival rates and treatments CLICK HERE and you can follow me on twitter at: