North Hollywood, CA, March 27, 2014 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – today commended Representatives Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and Charles Rangel (D-NY) for introducing a resolution “expressing support for designation of March 2014 as ‘National Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month.’” The resolution points out that multiple myeloma currently affects more than 100,000 people in the United States, with more than 22,000 new cases diagnosed in 2013, according to the National Cancer Institute. The resolution has bipartisan cosponsors including: Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), and Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC).
“I’m very proud of the hard work done by our advocacy team in securing this resolution, and we are honored that Rep. Higgins thanked the IMF in remarks to the House for our work on behalf of myeloma patients,” said Susie Novis, IMF President and Co-Founder.
The IMF has been working closely with Rep. Higgins and other members of the House and Senate on legislation to equalize insurance reimbursements for cancer drugs regardless of whether they are oral or IV. The IMF believes patients should have access to the medications their physicians prescribe, and not be limited to the treatments their insurance company will reimburse.
Since the introduction of the novel therapies to treat myeloma beginning more than ten years ago – novel therapies include VELCADE® and REVLIMID® and, recently, POMALYST® and KYPROLIS® – the median survival rate for myeloma patients has increased from three years to nearly ten years, with some patients living even longer active lives. The resolution recognizes these advances and the need to support clinical trials to continue this progress.
The IMF has launched the Black Swan Research Initiative® to move beyond even these efforts to find a definitive cure for multiple myeloma. Raising awareness of myeloma with this resolution will encourage research and help patients seek the treatment they need.
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects production of red cells, white cells, and stem cells and can damage bone. It is growing in numbers and affecting increasingly younger people.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary, the International Myeloma Foundation reaches more than 350,000 members in 120 countries worldwide. A 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients and their families, the IMF focuses on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. To date, the IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned hotline, and established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. For more information about the Black Swan Research Initiative, visit www.blackswan.myeloma.org.