Survival statistics for myeloma | Cancer Research UK
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A quick guide to what's on this page

Statistics and outlook for myeloma

Outlook means your chances of getting better. Your doctor may call this your prognosis. The outcome of treatment for myeloma depends on a number of different factors.

Further down this page, we present further information about the likely outcome of myeloma. There are no national statistics available for different stages of cancer or treatments that people may have received. For the more complete picture in your case, you need to speak to your own specialist.

We include statistics because people ask for them, but not everyone wants to read this type of information. You can skip this information if you like. You can always come back to it later.

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. The statistics cannot tell you about the different treatments people may have had, or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your individual treatment and your outlook.


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Myeloma survival

Find out about survival for myeloma.

People ask us for this information but not everyone with cancer wants to read it. So, if you aren’t sure whether you want to know at the moment, you can come back to it later.

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. They can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

No one can tell you exactly how long you’ll live with myeloma. It depends on your individual situation, treatment and level of fitness.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). Or you can talk to the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.


Survival statistics for myeloma

The following statistics are for people diagnosed with all stages of myeloma. 

Generally for people with myeloma in England and Wales

  • more than 75 out of every 100 (more than 75%) will survive their cancer for a year or more after diagnosis
  • almost 50 out of every 100 (almost 50%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • almost 35 out of every 100 (almost 35%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

Please note that outlook statistics are based on people who had treatment a number of years ago. Treatments improve over time, so the treatments given now are not yet fully reflected in the outlook figures.


What affects survival

Your outcome depends on the stage of your myeloma when it is diagnosed. This means how advanced it is. The doctors do blood, urine and bone marrow tests to find out what stage your myeloma is.

Another important factor is your age and fitness, and the type of treatment you have. Doctors call how well you are your performance status. There are some very intensive treatments available for myeloma and to have them you need to be well enough to get through them. 

It is a good sign if your myeloma responds well to treatment and goes into complete remission. Remission means that there is no physical sign of your disease and no longer any abnormal immunoglobulin in your blood or urine. Remission can last for months or years, but unfortunately the myeloma is likely to come back eventually and will then need further treatment.

Remember that myeloma can be very variable in how it behaves. In some people, it develops very slowly and so the outlook will be better. It is best to discuss this with your own specialist. It may be a while before your doctors can say how your myeloma is likely to behave. They will have to see how things go and how the myeloma responds to treatment before making an educated guess at your likely outlook.


About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer. Many people live much longer than 5 years.

The statistics on this page are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people will die of causes other than cancer. This gives a more accurate picture of cancer survival.


Clinical trials

Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve outlook for people with myeloma in the future.

Read about clinical trials.


More statistics

Read more about understanding statistics in cancer research and incidence, mortality and survival statistics.

For more in-depth information about survival and other statistics for myeloma, go to our Cancer Statistics section.

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Updated: 12 December 2015