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Myeloma survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for myeloma by age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data by geography and by socio-economic variation. The ICD code for myeloma (sometimes called multiple myeloma) is ICD-10 C90.

The statistics on these pages give an overall picture of survival. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics include all adults diagnosed with myeloma, at all ages, stages and co-morbidities. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and cancer characteristics. If you are a patient, you will probably find our CancerHelp pages more relevant and useful.

The latest survival statistics available for myeloma in England are 2005-2009. Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

 

One-, five- and ten-year survival

The latest age-standardised relative survival rates for myeloma in England during 2005-2009 show that 70.4% of men are expected to survive their disease for at least one year, falling to 37.1% surviving five years or more (Table 3.1).1,11 The survival rates for women are similar, with 72.3% expected to survive for one year or more and 37.1% surviving for at least five years. Broadly similar rates have been reported for Scotland.2


Table 3.1: Myeloma (C90), One-, Five- and Ten-Year Age-Standardised Relative Survival Rates, Adults (Aged 15-99), England, 2005-2009

  Relative Survival (%)
One-Year Five-Year Ten-Year
  2005-2009 2005-2009 2007*
Male 70.4 37.1 19.0
Female 72.3 37.1 14.9

*Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

A common misconception is to treat five-year survival rates as ‘cure’ rates. However, for myeloma, survival continues to fall beyond five years after diagnosis (Table 3.1).1

The five-year relative survival rates for myeloma are among the lowest of the 21 most common cancers in England.1 A factor contributing to the low survival rates are that 38% of cases of myeloma are emergency presentations.3 As with most cancers, treatment is more effective if it is detected at an early stage.

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

 

By age

As with nearly all cancers, relative survival for myeloma is higher in younger men and women, even after taking account of the higher background mortality in older people. This difference may be partly attributable to fewer treatment options being available for older myeloma patients, who are often considered to be ineligible for transplants and unable to tolerate strong or sustained chemotherapy due to poor general health.4 Older patients may also be less likely to survive the first weeks after diagnosis due to higher levels of comorbidity.5

The five-year relative survival rates for myeloma in men in England during 2005-2009 ranged from 65.2% in 15-49 year olds to 17% in 80-99 year olds (Figure 3.1).1 Relative survival varied similarly by age in women, ranging from 70.4% in 15-49 year olds to 13.6% in 80-99 year olds.

Figure 3.1: Myeloma (C90), Five-Year Relative Survival Rates by Age, England, 2005-2009

surv_5yr_age_mmyeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (52KB)

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

 

Trends over time

As with the majority of cancers, relative survival for myeloma is improving. However, long-term survival rates are still low. Increasing cancer survival rates remains a major priority of Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer.6

Some of this improvement in myeloma survival rates is likely to be attributable to earlier diagnosis and better detection.7 However, the most marked improvements in five- and ten-year survival have happened since the early 1990s, probably reflecting the effective and widespread use of high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation from the mid-1980s onwards. Due to comparatively recent advances in myeloma treatment including biological therapies such as bortezomib, lenalidomide and thalidomide, survival rates are improving rapidly, and current data may underestimate the survival rates for myeloma patients diagnosed today. It is important to note that myeloma survivors may experience long-term consequences of their disease and side effects of the treatments they receive for it, including peripheral neuropathy, blood clots and gastrointestinal problems.2 Accordingly, as survival rates improve, supportive care will play an increasingly vital role in myeloma management.2

The most recent survival estimates for Scotland8 and Northern Ireland9 are slightly higher than those for England, though it is difficult to make direct comparisons between different studies; a previous analysis for 1991-1999 showed that the UK countries all had similar rates.10 The overall magnitude of improvement is also reasonably consistent across countries of the UK.

In men, one-year relative survival rates for myeloma in England increased from 35.2% during 1971-1975 to 70.4% during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.2).1 In women, one-year relative survival rates increased from 40.6% to 72.3% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.2: Myeloma (C90), Age-Standardised One-Year Relative Survival Rates, England, 1971-2009

surv_1yr_mmyeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (54KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

In men, five-year relative survival rates for myeloma in England increased from 11.1% during 1971-1975 to 37.1% during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.3).1 In women, five-year relative survival rates increased from 12.1% to 37.1% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.3: Myeloma (C90), Age-Standardised Five-Year Relative Survival Rates, England, 1971-2009

surv_5yr_mmyeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (52KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

Ten-year relative survival rates for men diagnosed with myeloma increased from 5.3% in England during 1971-1975 to a predicted* 19% in England and Wales in 2007 (Figure 3.4).1,11 In women, ten-year relative survival rates increased from 4.8% to a predicted** 14.9% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.4: Myeloma (C90), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, England, 1971-2000, England and Wales, Predicted* 2007

surv_10yr_mmyeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (53KB)



*Survival rates are not age-standardised from 1971-1985
** Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

 

In Europe

The most recent five-year survival data for 1995-1999 show England is slightly below the average for Europe, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are around the European average.12 Across the European countries, five-year survival rates range from 23.1% to 46.7%. However, as with international incidence estimates, differing data collection practices throughout Europe may contribute to the ranking of individual countries.

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

 

By socio-economic group

The most recent England-wide data for 2004-2006 showed three-year survival rates were significantly lower in the most deprived areas than in the most affluent (41.1% versus 49.4% for men, 39.6% versus 47.5% for women).13 However, a similar study from Scotland for 1996-2000 did not find any differences in survival by deprivation.14

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

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References for myeloma survival

  1. Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010. London: ONS; 2011.
  2. Information Services Division Scotland (ISD Scotland). Statistical Publication Notice. Accessed April 2011.
  3. National Cancer Intelligence Unit (NCIN). Routes to Diagnosis. London: NCIN; 2010.
  4. Gay F, Palumbo A. Management of older patients with multiple myeloma. Blood Reviews 2011;25(2):65-73.
  5. Augustson BM, Begum G, Dunn JA, et al. Early Mortality After Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma: Analysis of Patients Entered Onto the United Kingdom Medical Research Council Trials Between 1980 and 2002—Medical Research Council Adult Leukaemia Working Party. J Clin Oncol 2005;23(36):9219-26.
  6. Department of Health. Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer. London: Department of Health; 2011.
  7. Renshaw C, Ketley N, Møller H, et al. Trends in the incidence and survival of multiple myeloma in South East England 1985-2004. BMC Cancer 2010;10:74.
  8. Snowden JA, Ahmedzai SH, Ashcroft J, et al. Guidelines for supportive care in multiple myeloma 2011. Brit J Haematol 2011;154(1):76-103.
  9. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR). Cancer in Ireland 1994-2004: A comprehensive report. Belfast: N Ireland Cancer Registry; 2009.
  10. Woods LM, Rachet B, Shack L, et al. Survival from twenty adult cancers in the UK and Republic of Ireland in the late twentieth century. Health Stat Q 2010;(46):5-24.
  11. Survival estimates were provided by the Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on request, 2010. http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/eph/ncde/cancersurvival/
  12. Sant M, Allemani C, Santaquilani M, et al. EUROCARE-4. Survival of cancer patients diagnosed in 1995-1999. Results and commentary. Eur J Cancer 2009;45(6):931-91.
  13. Rachet B, Ellis L, Maringe C, et al. Socioeconomic inequalities in cancer survival in England after the NHS cancer plan. Brit J Cancer 2010;103(4):446-53.
  14. Shack LG, Rachet B, Brewster DH, et al. Socioeconomic inequalities in cancer survival in Scotland 1986–2000. Brit J Cancer 2007;97(7):999-1004.
Updated: 3 September 2012