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The Understanding Series

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The IMF is committed to making information on myeloma treatments available in a format that is easy to read and understand.
Understanding Adherence to Oral Cancer Therapy

This booklet is intended to help myeloma patients and their healthcare providers work together to overcome any and all obstacles to adherence to safe and effective oral cancer therapy. It will help patients understand potential obstacles to complying with a doctor’s treatment plan in order to achieve the best results.

Understanding Bisphosphonate Therapy
This booklet is devoted to therapy that is given to patients with myeloma bone involvement. Approximately 80% of myeloma patients develop bone disease. Bisphosphonates help to prevent skeletal complications of myeloma. Treatment with bisphosphonates reduces bone damage and, when the myeloma is well controlled, allows bone healing to occur.

Understanding Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are used to further test new medications and therapies on human subjects. Whether or not to participate in a clinical trial is one of the critical decisions you and your oncologist may have to make in the course of your cancer treatment.

Understanding Dexamethasone and Other Steroids

This booklet is devoted to an important component of almost all myeloma therapies. The steroid dexamethasone is a synthetic adrenocortical steroid, also known as glucocorticosteroid or corticosteroid. Dexamethasone is one of the most frequently used medications in the treatment of myeloma. It is also known by the brand names Decadron®, Dexasone®, Diodex®, Hexadrol®, and Maxidex®.

Understanding Fatigue

This booklet contains a thorough examination of coping strategies and causes of myeloma fatigue, as well as suggestions for discussing fatigue with your doctor. Myeloma patients may experience fatigue caused by the disease, by treatment, and by the understandable anxiety and/or depression that affects many.  

Understanding MGUS and Smoldering Myeloma

This booklet contains information about monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM). Neither is an active disease state, but both are precursor states to active myeloma. It is therefore important to understand if, when, and how active myeloma might evolve and what monitoring and/or interventions are appropriate.

Understanding Revlimid® (lenalidomide)

This booklets discusses Revlimid® (lenalidomide), the use of this drug for treating myeloma patients, and Revlimid’s potential side effects and how best to manage them. Revlimid belongs to a group of immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs®) with the ability to inhibit new blood vessel development on which cancer cells depend.

Understanding High-Dose Therapy with Stem Cell Rescue

This booklet explains the rationale for, and process of, receiving high-dose therapy (HDT) with stem cell rescue as a treatment option for myeloma. As part of a first treatment regimen or at the time of disease relapse, HDT with stem cell rescue (often called “stem cell transplant”), can provide significant remission and survival benefits. 

Understanding Kyprolis® (carfilzomib) for Injection
This booklet discusses Kyprolis, the results of clinical trials with Kyprolis, how and when it is administered, its possible side effects, and how to manage them.
Understanding Pomalyst®
(pomalidomide) capsules

This booklet is about a drug that is used only for patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma. It pres­ents information on Pomalyst® and how it works, the results of clinical trials and ongoing research with Pomalyst, how and when to take Pomalyst, and its possible side effects and how to manage them. 

Understanding Protein Electrophoresis

Production of a single, monoclonal protein (M-protein) is a characteristic feature of multiple myeloma. The test used to measure the amount of monoclonal protein in the blood or urine is protein electrophoresis.

Understanding Serum Free Light Chain and Serum Heavy/Light Chain Assays

This booklet is devoted to two tests used in the diagnosis and monitoring of myeloma, the serum free light chain assay (Freelite®) and the serum heavy/light chain assay (Hevylite®). Since Freelite and Hevylite are independent biomark­ers of disease activity, it is important to monitor patients with both tests. 

Understanding Treatment of Myeloma-Induced Vertebral Compression Fractures

As treatment for myeloma improves and patients live longer, it is important to reduce the disability that can result from the painful problem of vertebral compression fractures, which occur when the vertebra collapses or fractures because the bone is too weak to withstand the pressure or stress placed upon it.
Understanding VELCADE® (bortezomib) for Injection
Part of the IMF's Understanding series, this booklet covers the basics, including: What is VELCADE? How does it work? How is VELCADE given? How is it used in clinical practice today? What are the side effects?

The Myeloma Patient's Guide to Understanding Your Test Results

Myeloma is a complex disease that can have different features in each patient. It is important to understand your disease and to know which tests are best for monitoring your myeloma. No single test or study is adequate to tell the whole story about a patient’s status, but used together, test results give a more complete picture. 

Understanding Thalidomide Therapy

This booklet discusses Thalomid® (thalidomide), an oral drug that is widely used throughout the myeloma disease course in the frontline, consolidation/maintenance, and relapse settings. You will learn how thalidomide works to treat myeloma, how it may be used with other therapies, how to handle it safely, and what side effects might occur.