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The Multiple Myeloma "Catch 22"
Posted: May 14, 2014

BY GARY PETERSEN There was a Vietnam War movie called CATCH 22.  What was the Catch 22?  In order to get out of Vietnam on a medical discharge you had to be insane, but if you tried to show them you were insane they would not believe you and make you stay. CATCH 22 is when you are caught in a can't-win situation. So what is the Catch 22 for some 25% of myeloma patients? According to a recent study, it takes an average of 163 days from the first symptoms to diagnosis for myeloma, and 25% of patients take over 306 days to diagnose. The average life expectancy for myeloma patients if not treated  is 279 days. No wonder the UK reports 1 in 5 patients die in the first 2 months, and 1/3 of the patients in the USA are gone by the second years.They basically  are dead at diagnosis! We must find a way to get the patient awareness up from 3%, and find ways to improve  the General Practitioner's dismal ability to diagnosis this  disease. The training of the GP must be improved to identify myeloma in a far more timely fashion. We must find ways to get the word out to the family doctor. And some of the doctors who take over a year to diagnose patients must be held to account. The only bright spot I see in this data is that if you can make it past the first year, you will live on average of 7 to 9 years not the 4 as noted in the most recent National Cancer Institutes SEER database.  Far more if you have a myeloma specialist on your team. The bad thing is that 20% or more of patients died in the first year from a delayed diagnosis. What can you about it? First, you can share this post on your Facebook,Twitter or to your other social media contacts. Next you can share a couple of resources with your family doctor. Share The United Kingdom's National Institute of Health pamphlet for family doctors or the web-based education program for general practitioners created by world renowned myeloma specialist Dr. Edward A. Stadtmauer of the University of Pennsylvania. It should be required reading! Good Luck and may God Bless your families Cancer Journey.  For more information on mutiple myeloma go to or you can follow me on twitter @grpetersen1.

The author Gary Petersen

about the author
Gary Petersen

Gary is a myeloma survivor and patient advocate. His work centers around helping patients live longer by helping them to find facilities who are beating the average survival statistics. You can find Gary's site at and follow him on Twitter at @grpetersen1

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