7 Ways To Avoid Stopping Treatment for Multiple Myeloma | MyMyelomaTeam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About MyMyelomaTeam
Powered By

7 Ways To Avoid Stopping Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

Medically reviewed by Todd Gersten, M.D.
Written by Amy Isler, RN and Kelly Crumrin
Updated on January 2, 2024

  • Sticking to a cancer treatment plan is the best way to achieve or maintain remission from multiple myeloma.
  • If you experience obstacles to staying on treatment, there are resources to help you overcome those barriers.
  • Be open with your doctor about your treatment goals and any challenges.
  • Connect with a palliative care team to get help managing symptoms and side effects, financial challenges, and support for loved ones.

For people diagnosed with multiple myeloma, sticking to a cancer treatment plan is critical to achieving and maintaining remission (when treatments have successfully reduced cancer symptoms). Sticking with treatment — also known as treatment adherence — has also been known to improve quality of life, reduce out-of-pocket medical costs, and increase work-life productivity.

In the last decade, there have been many significant advances in cancer research, including new treatments that have improved survival rates. By partnering with your cancer care team — which may include your oncologist, primary care provider, and oncology nursing team — you can ensure that your treatment plan is tailored to your condition and needs. After initial treatment of multiple myeloma, which may involve high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant, maintenance therapy is usually prescribed. Maintenance therapy helps keep myeloma from relapsing (when a disease comes back after a period of improvement).

Ways To Stick With Myeloma Treatment

Treating multiple myeloma can have many complicated aspects. These may make it difficult to stick with a plan. Financial, emotional, and logistical barriers are just some of the challenges people with multiple myeloma face each day. Getting the right information and resources can help you overcome these obstacles and have an easier time sticking with your myeloma treatment plan.


People who stick with their myeloma treatment regimen have better outcomes than those who pivot from their recommended plan.

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...


Here are seven ways to stay on track with myeloma treatment.

1. Understand Maintenance Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

Maintenance therapy may include a combination of oral and injected drugs. Oral drugs used during maintenance therapy may include corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone and immunomodulators like lenalidomide (Revlimid), thalidomide (Thalomid), and pomalidomide (Pomalyst). Sometimes, injected drugs are given via an intravenous (in the vein) infusion or a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. Injected drugs used for myeloma maintenance therapy may include daratumumab plus hyaluronidase-fihj (Darzalex Faspro), which has also recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to administer via subcutaneous injection.

Because multiple myeloma is a chronic (ongoing) disease, sticking to your treatment plan is the best way to stay in remission and have a positive outcome. Myeloma treatment may sometimes seem daunting, scary, or time-consuming. Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome barriers to sticking with an effective treatment plan.

2. Learn Why Myeloma Treatment Adherence Is Important

Treatment for multiple myeloma works best when the right treatment options are used for the prescribed duration. People who stick with their regimen have better outcomes than those who pivot from their recommended plan.


Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions and seek clarification when you don’t understand something about your myeloma treatment plan.

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...


The purpose of a personalized treatment plan is not only to achieve remission from myeloma but to also extend the duration and quality of life. If you skip maintenance treatment or stop early, drugs aren’t given the chance to work as intended. Ultimately, not sticking with a myeloma treatment plan may lead to a relapse, worsening disease progression, increased out-of-pocket health care costs, and even a high risk for death. Stopping and starting medicine that used to work well might make it not work as well over time.

3. Educate Yourself on Treatment Risks and Benefits

Seek information about your condition from your health care team and other authoritative sources. Learning about multiple myeloma and your specific disease stage and progression can help you understand what is happening in your body. Understanding your treatment options can improve your confidence when discussing the potential risks and benefits of each with your doctor. You’ll also be more likely to stick with a treatment plan if it reflects your priorities and you actively participate in the decisions.

Reliable sources for myeloma information include the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You can also ask your doctor which sources they recommend.

4. Ask Your Health Care Providers Lots of Questions

It’s critical to communicate clearly with your doctor. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions and seek clarification when you don’t understand something. Whether you want to understand why you are experiencing bone pain, or you don’t understand the results of your blood tests, your hematologist should be able to answer your questions. Bring a friend or family member to doctors’ visits to help you remember conversations and treatment plan details. You can also ask the doctor if it’s OK to record the conversation on your phone to review later.

Let your doctor know right away if you experience side effects from myeloma treatment, and keep them informed of any changes. There are often ways to manage side effects, and some side effects may fade over time. Your doctor can help you know what to expect and how to keep feeling your best during treatment.

Read more about how to talk to your doctor about multiple myeloma treatment.

5. Get Help With Treatment Costs

If the cost of myeloma treatment is a challenge, there are resources that can help.

Talk With Your Doctor

For many people, financial considerations are a concern when it comes to myeloma treatment. Be clear with your doctor about your financial situation, and ask for affordable options to help you achieve the best outcome.

Seek Financial Assistance

There are many programs to help with health care and medication costs. Look into programs with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and the HealthWell Foundation.

Lower Your Prescription Drug Costs

The cost of oral medication and treatment drugs can be steep, but there are several copay assistance programs to help lower your out-of-pocket expenses. Learn more about the programs at CancerCare, International Myeloma Foundation, and Patient Advocate Foundation.

6. Get Organized

It can be overwhelming to remember your doses, organize your treatment schedule, and arrange transportation to doctors’ visits and follow-up appointments. There are tools, support groups, and resources to help with logistics and reminders that can help you adhere to your treatment plan.

Set Reminders

Use alarms to set medication reminders, or create a consistent routine for taking your medicine at the same time and place. If you feel comfortable with technology, there are many apps and resources on your smartphone that can help you manage care.

Plan Transportation

Many people have difficulty arranging transportation to doctors’ visits, treatment appointments, and pharmacy pickups. Depending on others can be uncomfortable and unsustainable, but there are resources available to ease the burden of transportation costs. Below are a few programs that can help guide you in the right direction:

7. Connect With a Palliative Care Team

Palliative care, or supportive care, consists of specialized support for people living with a serious health condition. Palliative care teams are made up of health care professionals who work together to address your concerns and help you understand your treatment options. You may get referrals to meet with various specialists who can help you manage pain, get better sleep, and maintain a healthy weight as you treat myeloma. Palliative care staff can also help with administrative hassles such as filling out complex medical forms.


Palliative care is focused on helping you feel your best, which can also make it easier to stay on myeloma treatment.

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...


Who Can Benefit From Palliative Care?

Palliative care is focused on helping you feel your best, which can also make it easier to stay on myeloma treatment. In some studies, palliative care has even been shown to extend the life span of those living with serious illnesses. Palliative care can benefit caregivers, too.

Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with myeloma or have already undergone extensive treatments, it’s important to know about the different ways palliative care can help throughout your myeloma journey.

Read more about how palliative care can help during myeloma treatment.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyMyelomaTeam is the social network for people with myeloma and their loved ones. On MyMyelomaTeam, more than 22,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with myeloma.

Are you finding it challenging to stay on your myeloma treatment? Have you found ways to overcome obstacles around sticking with treatment? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

References
  1. Assessing the Effect of Adherence on Patient-Reported Outcomes and Out-of-Pocket Costs Among Patients With Multiple Myeloma — Clinical Lymphoma Myeloma and Leukemia
  2. Homepage — Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  3. Stem Cell Transplant — Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  4. Treatments for Multiple Myeloma — Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  5. FDA Approves Darzalex Faspro Formulation for Multiple Myeloma — Clinical Oncology News
  6. Exploring Behaviors, Treatment Beliefs, and Barriers to Oral Chemotherapy Adherence Among Adult Leukemia Patients in a Rural Outpatient Setting — BMC Research Notes
  7. Oral Therapies in Myeloma: Medication Adherence — Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  8. Determinants of Satisfactory Patient Communication and Shared Decision Making in Patients With Multiple Myeloma — Psycho-Oncology
  9. Plasma Cell Neoplasms (Including Multiple Myeloma) — National Cancer Institute
  10. Multiple Myeloma — American Cancer Society
  11. Myeloma Overview — Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  12. Managing the Cost of Cancer Treatment — Cancer Support Community
  13. Financial Support — Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  14. Financial and Transportation Support — Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
  15. Multiple Myeloma — Medicare Access — HealthWell Foundation
  16. New Copay Assistance Funds Available for Multiple Myeloma Patients — CancerCare
  17. Drug Reimbursement Information and Assistance — International Myeloma Foundation
  18. Multiple Myeloma Co-Pay Relief Program Fund Notices — Patient Advocate Foundation
  19. New Program for Multiple Myeloma Patients Offers Help With Transportation Costs — CancerCare
  20. Housing and Travel Assistance — International Myeloma Foundation
  21. Susan Lang Pay-It-Forward Patient Travel Assistance Program — Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  22. What Is Palliative Care? — GetPalliativeCare.org
  23. What Is Palliative Care? — MedlinePlus
    Updated on January 2, 2024
    All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

    Become a Subscriber

    Get the latest articles about myeloma sent to your inbox.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
    Todd Gersten, M.D. is a hematologist-oncologist at the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute in Wellington, Florida. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
    Amy Isler, RN is a registered nurse with over six years of experience as a credentialed school nurse. Learn more about her here.
    Kelly Crumrin is a senior editor at MyHealthTeam and leads the creation of content that educates and empowers people with chronic illnesses. Learn more about her here.

    Related Articles

    B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a protein found on most multiple myeloma cells.BCMA can be us...

    What Is BCMA-Targeted Immunotherapy for Multiple Myeloma?

    B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) is a protein found on most multiple myeloma cells.BCMA can be us...
    Every myeloma therapy option comes with potential benefits and potential risks.Your doctor will h...

    Myeloma Treatments: Risks and Benefits

    Every myeloma therapy option comes with potential benefits and potential risks.Your doctor will h...
    Side effects, emotional stress, and costs associated with multiple myeloma treatment can all be c...

    13 Treatment Tips From People With Myeloma

    Side effects, emotional stress, and costs associated with multiple myeloma treatment can all be c...
    If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, you may be worried about what hap...

    8 Facts About Myeloma Treatments

    If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, you may be worried about what hap...
    Palliative care is focused on helping you feel better while undergoing treatment for myeloma.A pa...

    Palliative Care for Myeloma: 8 Fast Facts

    Palliative care is focused on helping you feel better while undergoing treatment for myeloma.A pa...
    Maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma consists of ongoing treatment that starts after a stem c...

    6 Facts About Myeloma Maintenance Therapy

    Maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma consists of ongoing treatment that starts after a stem c...

    Recent Articles

    If your doctor diagnoses you with multiple myeloma, they may also estimate your prognosis. Your p...

    Multiple Myeloma Prognosis: Survival Rates, Light Chain, and More Factors

    If your doctor diagnoses you with multiple myeloma, they may also estimate your prognosis. Your p...
    Welcome to MyMyelomaTeam — the place to connect with others living with myeloma. This video will...

    Getting Started on MyMyelomaTeam (VIDEO)

    Welcome to MyMyelomaTeam — the place to connect with others living with myeloma. This video will...
    During diseases like multiple myeloma, the body produces abnormal antibodies, including IgG or Ig...

    IgG and IgA Antibodies: What Do They Mean?

    During diseases like multiple myeloma, the body produces abnormal antibodies, including IgG or Ig...
    Multiple myeloma treatment has one main goal: to put your disease into remission. When cancer goe...

    7 Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma Relapse To Look Out For

    Multiple myeloma treatment has one main goal: to put your disease into remission. When cancer goe...
    Most people ask more questions when ordering a meal at a restaurant or purchasing a cellphone tha...

    40 Important Questions To Ask Your Oncologist About Cancer and Myeloma

    Most people ask more questions when ordering a meal at a restaurant or purchasing a cellphone tha...
    People living with multiple myeloma again face the choice of whether to get an updated messenger ...

    Defense Against Breakthrough COVID-19 With Myeloma: Double Vaccines, Antivirals, and More

    People living with multiple myeloma again face the choice of whether to get an updated messenger ...
    MyMyelomaTeam My myeloma Team

    Thank you for subscribing!

    Become a member to get even more:

    sign up for free

    close