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'Advance treatment can add more years in multiple myeloma patients'

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By Vivek Singh Chauhan

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) As the news of veteran actor and BJP MP Kirron Kher, suffering from multiple myeloma, shook the showbiz and the political world, concerns over the deadly blood cancer among common people is also on the rise.

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However, top health experts on Friday emphasised that advanced treatments like targeted combination of drugs along with bone marrow transplant can effectively increase the survival of a patient by more than 10 years.

According to Rahul Bhargava, Director, Institute of Blood Disorders situated at Fortis Hospital Gurugram, a bone marrow transplant is just like a plain blood transfusion and it is no longer a complicated procedure.

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“Multiple myeloma is now a highly controllable disease as we know that in the past decade many new medications have prolonged the survival for more than 10 years. So, at whatever age we get myeloma, we can get a bone marrow transplant done, which may help patients live longer in comparison to chemotherapeutic agents,” Bhargava told IANS.

Multiple myeloma is an uncommon type of blood cancer in which abnormal plasma cells build up in the bone marrow and form tumours in many bones of the body.

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Healthy plasma cells make antibodies, which protect us from infections and bacteria. In patients with multiple myeloma, something goes wrong with the cell division, causing a malignant proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow.

The signs and symptoms of deadly blood cancer can vary from person to person and, early in the disease, there may be none. When signs and symptoms do occur, they can include unexplained renal failure, back pain with broken bones, long-term anemia, fatigue and infections in the urine.

These common symptoms may also occur due to other conditions and therefore it is important for people, with these symptoms to see a doctor immediately, as experts say that if multiple myeloma is diagnosed at an early stage, the survival is longer.

“Treatment of multiple myeloma has become more effective with advancements in medicine and technology. Target combination of drugs are given for treatment. Generally, a combination of three drugs are given which has a recovery rate of more than 95 per cent,” said head of the Oncology department at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple myeloma can also damage the bones and the kidneys and weaken the immune system.

The condition of Kirron Kher was shared by her husband, actor Anupam Kher, and their son Sikandar Kher, in a Twitter statement on Thursday.

“Just so that rumours don’t get the better of a situation Sikandar and I would like to inform everyone that Kirron has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer,” Kher posted on Twitter.

“She is currently undergoing treatment and we are sure she will come out of this stronger than before. We are very blessed that she is being looked after by a phenomenal set of doctors. She has always been a fighter and takes things head-on,” the statement added.



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