If you’re living with multiple myeloma, you’re already aware of the impact blood cancer can have on your life — but chances are strong that other people in your orbit don’t know as much as they could about the disease. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness for this condition — particularly in March, which is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month.
It can be hard when your friends and family don’t know what you’re going through. It can also feel difficult to say no to loved ones who don’t understand your situation. You might worry about how your relationships will be affected.
Raising awareness about myeloma is important so your friends, family, and caregivers can better understand how to support you.
Before you can create public awareness by sharing information with others, it’s a good idea to understand the specifics about myeloma. Learn more about myeloma’s causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options.
Multiple myeloma develops when a type of white blood cell (a plasma cell) becomes cancerous. Plasma cells reside in the bone marrow and produce antibodies that help the body fight infection. During myeloma, plasma cells develop abnormalities in their genes, leading them to grow out of control and build up in the bone marrow, forming tumors.
In most cases, multiple myeloma is not curable, but the effectiveness of new medications and regimens means that, for many people, myeloma is a chronic condition that can be managed with treatment. Some myeloma medications are so new that long-term data is not yet available. However, survival rates for people with multiple myeloma continue to improve.
After you’re armed with information about myeloma, you can share it with others for Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month. The fastest and least expensive way for this kind of advocacy is through social media. You can post information about myeloma, share details about the condition, and join communities of other people who are also working to raise awareness about myeloma.
To ensure your messages on social media reach as many people as possible, consider using an appropriate myeloma-related hashtag, like #MyelomaAwareness or #MyelomaAwarenessMonth. This way, your posts will be seen by more people who have the same interests, and they’re more likely to share and comment.
Social media helps raise awareness for the condition, and it also allows other people with myeloma to realize they aren’t alone. Joining a myeloma community on social media, such as MyMyelomaTeam, can also help you connect with others.
Another way to raise awareness about myeloma is to participate in an activity dedicated to the cause. You can walk or run for myeloma, play bingo, participate in fundraising activities, or even create a unique event that works for your interests. You can help other people understand more about myeloma while having fun and raising money for the cause.
One MyMyelomaTeam member wrote of attending a myeloma awareness event last year, “It was so great to join the event for MM Awareness Month and to meet some of you!”
If you are able, you can also donate (or encourage others to donate) to the International Myeloma Foundation to support myeloma advocacy and cancer research.
In addition, remember to engage in self-care. It is emotionally taxing to educate others about your lived experiences, so know your limits and accept when to put your mental well-being first.
On MyMyelomaTeam, more than 14,000 people living with myeloma come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with the condition.
Share your myeloma journey in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.