Myeloma is a relapsing-remitting blood cancer arising from the clonal expansion of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow. It is a difficult cancer to diagnose due to the vagueness of symptoms and rarity of the disease. This means myeloma patients experience some of the longest delays in diagnosis of all cancer patients. Myeloma UK is encouraging hospitals to hold a Myeloma Grand Round to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of myeloma, to help speed up diagnosis in secondary care.
We are asking consultant haematologists to present information on myeloma to doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals from other specialities. For myeloma patients this is particularly important, as the non-specific nature of symptoms means patients can be repeatedly referred to different secondary care departments (e.g. renal medicine, orthopaedics and respiratory) following presentation at the GP surgery. As a result, increasing awareness of myeloma throughout secondary care would facilitate faster referrals to haematology, speeding up myeloma diagnosis.
Ten hospitals hosted a Myeloma Grand Round event in 2018 and several have reported seeing increased enquiries and test requests relating to suspected myeloma.
Dr Neil Rabin, Consultant Haematologist, North Middlesex Hospital said,
“Following our Grand Round, two patients with kidney problems were identified as myeloma patients and started treatment within a few days. We are grateful to our colleagues in other departments for their assistance in identifying patients with suspected myeloma.”
Suzanne Renwick, Healthcare Professional Projects Manager, Myeloma UK said,
“We are pleased that a number of hospitals have held a Myeloma Grand Round and would like to enlist many more. Delays in diagnosis of myeloma are prevalent and early diagnosis is a priority for Myeloma UK.”
Myeloma UK has a set of slides available to any healthcare professional looking to hold their own Myeloma Grand Round at their local hospital. If you are interested in helping speed up myeloma diagnosis please contact a member of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Myeloma UK website.