Multiple myeloma treatment may include targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation, or stem cell transplants. You can help a loved one by offering emotional and practical support.

A multiple myeloma diagnosis can be overwhelming. If your loved one has multiple myeloma, they’ll need encouragement and positive energy as they undergo treatment. Your love and support can play a pivotal role in their recovery.

Here are a few tips to help a loved one manage and cope with multiple myeloma.

Your loved one has a lot on their plate, so they’ll appreciate any support you can offer. Managing treatment for multiple myeloma can be stressful. If you learn about their condition and treatment, it can be easier to empathize with them and understand and support their recovery process.

To educate yourself, consider asking to accompany your loved one to medical appointments.

This gives you an opportunity to learn about treatment options and potential side effects directly from their oncology care team. In addition, their team may provide diet recommendations and other specific instructions that may improve their well-being during treatment.

You can also ask questions to help you understand how best to support your loved one’s physical health and well-being, as well as share your thoughts on how your loved one is doing, any side effects they’re having, and concerns they have.

Your presence at appointments is helpful because your loved one may not remember every bit of information that their care team shares. Offer to take notes for them to refer back to after the appointment.

Various treatments are available for multiple myeloma.

Treatment options for multiple myeloma may include medication, surgery, radiation, or stem cell transplants to achieve remission. Others with progressive multiple myeloma may choose not to treat the disease. In all cases, doctors may recommend other options to treat the symptoms.

You may disagree with your loved one’s decision regarding treatment. However, they have to make a decision based on what they feel is right for their body and health.

If your loved one asks for help in choosing the right treatment, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down with them and weighing the pros and cons. You can help research different treatment options, come up with questions for the oncology care team, and help your loved one make an informed decision.

Just remember that it’s ultimately their decision.

Organizing a care plan may be difficult for someone who’s dealing with the side effects of treatment. If possible, consider stepping in and lending a helping hand.

Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Create a schedule of their medical appointments.
  • Manage any follow-ups or referrals suggested by the oncology care team.
  • Develop a schedule for taking medications.
  • Call in prescription refills or pick up their prescriptions from the pharmacy.

Multiple myeloma can take a physical and emotional toll on your loved one. Your family member or friend may need daily support.

In addition to driving them to medical appointments, other things you can offer to do include:

  • running errands
  • cooking meals
  • cleaning their home
  • babysitting their children
  • taking care of their pets
  • assisting with personal care, such as dressing and feeding, if needed
  • be their point of contact to communicate updates to friends and families
  • help manage the people who want to help by organizing on websites like Caring Bridge, Lotsa Helping Hands, or MealTrain

Sometimes, people with multiple myeloma just want to talk and express how they feel. Even though you may also feel scared, it’s important to provide a listening ear and offer encouragement.

Being able to talk or cry freely about their diagnosis may help them feel better. If they know they can confide in you, they’re less likely to keep their feelings bottled up.

Other times, they may want to forget about their multiple myeloma and do something “normal,” like watching a movie. You can help by taking the lead on things they enjoy doing.

Treating multiple myeloma can create a financial burden. Resources are available for financial assistance, but your loved one may have too much on their plate to do the proper research.

Speak with social workers, caseworkers, or private organizations on their behalf to discuss eligibility, or ask their oncology care team about local or statewide resources.

Consider support groups, whether in-person or online. It may be beneficial for them to connect with people living with the same condition. This way, they don’t feel alone. Speaking with a counselor may help as well.

Eventually, your loved one’s cancer may go into remission. This doesn’t mean that you need to stop providing help and support. It may take a while for them to regain full strength and resume their typical activities. Your assistance might be needed for some time.

Once they’ve completed treatment, they may need to make a few lifestyle changes to improve their long-term outlook and reduce the likelihood of a relapse.

For example, making some dietary improvements and keeping an active lifestyle can help strengthen their immune system.

Offer assistance by helping them find recipes and prepare healthy meals. Support and encourage them as they begin a new exercise routine. Join them on walks or go to the gym together.

What is the most common treatment for multiple myeloma?

Treatment for multiple myeloma typically includes multiple drugs, such as targeted therapies, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant, chemotherapy, and radiation. The right treatment for an individual can depend on personal factors and past treatments.

How do people cope with multiple myeloma?

Individuals cope with multiple myeloma in different ways, including by asking for help, joining a support group, getting involved with nonprofit organizations, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and staying active.

What is the life expectancy of a person with myeloma?

An individual’s life expectancy with multiple myeloma can vary based on many personal factors, including age at diagnosis, tumor-specific factors, kidney function, and overall health.

Additionally, a person’s outlook with multiple myeloma may improve over time as new treatments are developed. The 5-year relative survival rating for multiple myeloma is 57%, based on people diagnosed between 2012 and 2018.

Even without medical training or experience as a caregiver, it’s possible to assist a loved one undergoing multiple myeloma treatment.

Treatment can be short-term or long-term. Sometimes, it may be too much for your family member or friend to handle.

However, with your love and support, it’ll be easier for them to cope and remain positive throughout treatment.