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7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor After a Relapse

RelapseOctober 2019By: Myeloma Explained Staff

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 options are you considering for my next round of treatment?

Your medical team will develop a treatment plan that considers the status of your myeloma and other factors. The therapy or therapies your doctor recommends following a relapse will usually differ from the ones you tried before. In most cases, your plan will include a combination of medications.

The choice of therapies will be 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

Can I share with you what I value most when it comes to decisions about my treatment and care?

Your priorities and lifestyle preferences can and should play a role in treatment decisions. The multiple myeloma treatment landscape has evolved significantly over the past decade, increasing the number of treatment options available. Talking to your doctor about your priorities and concerns can be a helpful part of treatment planning.

If you’re unsure where to start, the Myeloma MVP guide can help you consider and communicate these to your care team.

What will my treatment schedule be?

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. Asking about these details can help you understand how your treatment schedule might impact your day-to-day life.

What are possible side effects from this treatment?

Side effects from multiple myeloma treatments are common. Your doctor can tell you about which side effects you might experience—and how to manage them—when discussing your next round of treatment.

Will this treatment/treatment regimen have a potential impact on my future treatment options?

Though there have been significant advances in treating relapsed patients, multiple myeloma remains incurable and will likely return eventually. After each relapse, treatment can become more complicated due to factors like the disease becoming resistant to certain medicines, potential accumulation of toxicity from previous therapies and the development of new health issues. Talking to your doctor about this may be able to help you understand how your next combination of treatments may impact your future options.

What are my other options?

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about what other options are available for your situation. This might be a good time to communicate your lifestyle preferences and priorities to your doctor to ensure there aren’t other options that better fit your needs.

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

Eating healthy, making an effort to minimize stress and anxiety, and practicing low-level exercise (if recommended by your doctor) are some examples of activities that can help your overall well-being. Your healthcare team may have other recommendations based on your disease and your treatment plan. You can work with them to figure out the right plan for you that includes healthful activities you enjoy.

Click here to download and print the 7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor After a Relapse.