Dr. Urvi Shah, a multiple myeloma specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has made a name for herself as one of the leading physicians studying the relationship between myeloma and nutrition. She is particularly interested in how modifiable risk factors (obesity, BMI, diabetes, and the microbiome) affect myeloma. Some of these investigative issues are hard to solve and need patient involvement to a clearer picture.
The HealthTree Foundation for Multiple Myeloma is proud to partner with Dr. Urvi Shah to help accelerate this research and get patient involvement in the studies. We know that many of you are excited about this research and hungry (get it?) for answers.
A Foundation Study for Nutrition and Multiple Myeloma Research
One of the studies published last year focused on the needs, perceptions, and practices of patients around nutrition after a diagnosis of a plasma cell disorder (MGUS, smoldering myeloma, myeloma, plasma cell leukemia, etc.)
Dr. Shah and research partners came up with a 20-25 question survey regarding this topic, and after they got IRB (Institutional Review Board) exempt approval through Memorial Kettering, they shared it with our myeloma community on HealthTree Cure Hub, HealthTree's free research portal.
What was incredible to Dr. Shah was the high number of patients that answered the survey. Four hundred twenty-one of our community completed the survey within a month, which would have taken at least a year if Dr. Shah had gone through the regular review and approval process.
"I can't thank each patient enough [for] spending that time to answer the survey. Those surveys helped us set the stage for why this research is important... we are now answering questions that are important to patients and what they really want."
Through the study, Dr. Shah and her fellow investigators identified the biggest patient concerns, questions, or thoughts surrounding nutrition:
- Patients what to know what foods they should be eating.
- Patients what to know what diet may affect their cancer (what foods they should be avoiding).
- They wanted their oncologist to talk to them about nutrition and give them advice; patients feel they would be more likely to take the advice if their oncologist gave it to them.
- Patients are likely to change their diet pattern when getting a diagnosis, regardless of the oncologist's advice or not.
Can you imagine? As we move forward with this research and bring in new and exciting evidence, oncologists can share accurate nutritional data with patients at the time of diagnosis that they are likely to follow and benefit from.
Participate in Future Nutrition and Myeloma Research
HealthTree Cure Hub is a free research portal that allows myeloma patients to answer questions for these surveys to accelerate myeloma research. To participate in these surveys, we invite you to sign up for HealthTree Cure Hub today. A sign-up requires your email, password, and brief demographic questions. The survey results will always be shared anonymously, so no private information will ever be sold or shared.
Dr. Shah concludes,
"Thank you for considering being a part of research and advancing a cure for myeloma patients like yourself and others who are to come in the future. I think being a part of the cutting-edge changes is very invaluable for all of us in the myeloma community as physicians and patients alike. I hope you will consider participating in some of these surveys and we cannot thank you enough for even considering this. We look forward to sharing the results with you."
about the author
Audrey is the Editor for the HealthTree Foundation for Multiple Myeloma. She originally joined the HealthTree Foundation in 2020 as the Myeloma Community Program Director. While not knowing much about myeloma initially, she worked hard to educate herself, empathize and learn from others' experiences. She loves this job. Audrey is passionate about serving others, loves learning, and enjoys iced chais from Dutch Bros. She also loves spending time with her supportive husband and energetic three-year-old.