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5 Questions to Ask your Doctor After a Relapse

RelapseJuly 2019

Multiple myeloma is characterized by recurring cycles of relapse and remission. If you’ve relapsed, it’s important to have an open conversation with your healthcare team about what’s next. Here are some questions you may consider asking.

What should my next treatment be? Why do you recommend it?

Your medical team should develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs, and the therapies will usually differ from the ones you tried before. In most cases your plan will include a combination of medications.

Potential post-relapse therapies include chemotherapy drugs, monoclonal antibodies, corticosteroids, proteasome inhibitors, and drugs that boost the immune system. Some patients may be eligible for stem cell transplants as well.

Your doctor may recommend treatments based on a variety of factors including:

  • The specific characteristics of the myeloma and the symptoms you’re experiencing
  • Your age and overall health
  • Previous treatments you received
  • Your own lifestyle choices and treatment goals

How often and where will I receive this treatment?

Several different types of treatment are available for multiple myeloma, that attack the disease in different ways. Each therapy has its own administration schedule. In addition, some treatments can be taken at home, while others may require you to go to a clinic. It’s important to find out this information to better understand your treatment schedule and how it might impact your day-to-day life.

What are possible side effects from this treatment and can they be prevented or managed?

You may feel that you’re not in control of a lot of things going on, but you can control what’s on your plate. Eating well might help you feel better, maintain or improve your strength and energy levels, and help equip your body and mind to deal with the unpredictable future.

What are my other options?

Don't be afraid to ask your doctor about what options are available for your situation. You may find it helpful to establish your priorities and treatment goals and then share them with your healthcare provider so you can make informed treatment decisions together.

What can I do to stay healthy and maintain energy while undergoing treatment?

Whether you're experiencing a multiple myeloma relapse or not, eating healthy, practicing low-level exercise, and making an effort to minimize stress and anxiety can help your overall well-being. You can work with your medical team to figure out a plan that includes healthful activities that you enjoy.