Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma overview

You are at the center of everything we do at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Here, we surround you with a team of specialists who work together closely to provide expertly targeted, complete care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in multiple myeloma with a commitment to meet your unique needs.

Following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the organization was renamed to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that also serves as UW Medicine's cancer program. 

Why choose Fred Hutch?

  • Experts in multiple myeloma
    Fred Hutch is internationally recognized as a center for multiple myeloma treatment and research. We provide care to more than 500 people with myeloma each year. Our doctors and scientists are working to better understand what causes the disease and provide the most effective care.
  • Bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma
    The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program consistently achieves higher-than-expected transplant survival rates. We pioneered bone marrow transplants and have performed more than any other institution in the world. Since 2001, we have performed transplants for more than 1,500 people with myeloma.
  • A national leader in cancer care
    Fred Hutch is the leading cancer treatment center in the region and among the top nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • NCI comprehensive cancer center
    We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells.

Facts

Multiple myeloma is a blood, or hematologic, cancer that can affect your bones and kidneys as well as your levels of healthy blood cells. Fred Hutch offers comprehensive myeloma treatment from a team of experts.

Treatment

There is no single standard treatment plan for myeloma. We design a plan based on the specific details of your disease and how it’s affecting your body. Your Fred Hutch team will recommend a customized combination of chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy, radiation therapy or other treatments.

Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Radiation therapy The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body. Standard care A treatment or other intervention currently being used and considered to be of proven effectiveness based on past studies.

Providers

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

Clinical trials

To give you access to the most innovative therapies, we unite the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in multiple myeloma clinical studies not available everywhere.

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease.

Resources

There are many resources online for learning about your disease. Health educators at the Fred Hutch Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.