Multiple Myeloma

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Winning the Battle Against Multiple Myeloma

Myeloma is a type of cancer in which plasma cells—a type of white blood cell—grow out of control. Most people with myeloma have myeloma tumors in several places in their body. That’s why this disease is often called “multiple myeloma.” Because every myeloma is unique, SCCA specialists target treatment to each patient’s situation.

Statistics Are Abstract; Lives Aren’t

Becky Voelkel, MyelomaSurvivor Becky Voelkel was diagnosed with stage III multiple myeloma in 2008. A year later she had a bone marrow transplant and today feels like her cancer will never return. Read more about Becky.

If you have myeloma, where you choose to go for initial treatment has a significant impact on the likelihood of survival. Myeloma patients at SCCA have access to advanced therapies and treatments being explored in some 25 ongoing clinical trials for multiple myeloma conducted at SCCA’s founding organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine. For people with myeloma who are good candidates for stem cell transplants, the Fred Hutchinson Transplant program at SCCA is the most experienced transplant center in the world. As you can see below, patients treated for myeloma at SCCA have high five-year survival rates.

Multiple Myeloma Survival Rates

Below are the five-year survival rates for multiple myeloma patients treated by SCCA compared to patients who were treated for multiple myeloma elsewhere. This information was collected by the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) for patients who were diagnosed and treated between 2003 and 2005 and then followed for five years.

  • SCCA patients are represented by the green line. Their five-year survival rate was 65 percent from the time they were first diagnosed by SCCA.
  • Patients from the other types of treatment centers—Community Cancer Centers, Comprehensive Community Cancer Centers, and Academic/Research Hospitals—are represented by the yellow line. Their combined five-year survival rate was 35 percent.

The NCDB tracks the outcomes of 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer in the United States from more than 1,500 commission-accredited cancer programs. It has been collecting data from hospital cancer registries since 1989 and now has almost 29 million records. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Data Collection Methodology