Survival for myeloma

Survival depends on many factors. No one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

Below are general statistics based on large groups of people. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case. 

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

About these statistics

The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years.

The NHS, other health organisations, and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.

5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.

Survival by stage

No UK-wide statistics are available for different stages of myeloma. Survival statistics are available for the 3 stages of myeloma in England. These figures are for people diagnosed with myeloma in England between 2016 and 2020. 

Stage 1

Almost 80 out of 100 people (almost 80%) will survive their myeloma for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 2

Around 60 out of 100 people (around 60%) will survive their myeloma for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 3

40 out of 100 people (40%) will survive their myeloma for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Survival statistics for myeloma

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

Generally for people with myeloma in England:

  • around 85 out of every 100 (around 85%) will survive their myeloma for a year or more after diagnosis
  • around 55 out of every 100 (around 55%) will survive their myeloma for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • around 30 out of every 100 (around 30%) will survive their myeloma for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed

What affects survival

Your prognosis depends on the stage of your myeloma when it is diagnosed. The stage tells your doctor how the myeloma is affecting you, and how it might develop. The doctors do blood, urine and bone marrow tests to find out what stage your myeloma is.

The doctors also look for particular gene changes (mutations). These are called cytogenetic tests. They describe the results as low or high risk cytogenetics. The results affect your stage and your prognosis.

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.

Myeloma can be 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. 

More statistics

For more information about survival and other statistics about myeloma, go to our Cancer Statistics section

  • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (12th edition)
    VT DeVita, TS Lawrence, SA Rosenberg
    Wolters Kluwer, 2022

  • Risk factors in multiple myeloma: is it time for a revision?
    J Corre and others 
    Blood, 2021 Volume 137, Issue 1, Pages 16-19

  • Cancer Survival in England: adults diagnosed between 2013 and 2017 and followed up to 2018
    Office for National Statistics

  • Cancer survival in England, cancers diagnosed 2016 to 2020, followed up to 2021
    NHS England

Last reviewed: 
14 Nov 2023
Next review due: 
14 Nov 2026

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