Myeloma diagnosis as a multi-speciality challenge

The individualised and complex nature of myeloma and its presenting symptoms can make diagnosis a difficult and indirect process. Symptoms are often vague, such as musculoskeletal pain, infections and tiredness. Age and the presence of comorbidities in addition to symptoms of anaemia and back pain can increase diagnostic delay. This delay affects treatment options and prognosis, puts undue psychological stress on patients and families and is associated with an increased risk of complications.

Myeloma sits within an increasingly complex and pressurised healthcare environment. It is important to understand the barriers that prolong diagnosis, both in primary and secondary care, in order to develop interventions to minimise delays.

Grand Round events

Grand Round events provide a key opportunity for secondary care specialists to highlight the key symptoms of their routine diagnoses to colleagues from all hospital specialities. This is particularly important for conditions that GPs cannot find an obvious referral choice for.

Patients with myeloma are repeatedly referred to a number of different secondary care departments following presentation at the GP surgery, such as General Medicine, Renal medicine, Gastroenterology and Rheumatology. While work continues to raise awareness and identify early markers of myeloma that can be detected in primary care, we must aim to educate all relevant secondary specialities of the vague and overlapping symptoms of myeloma with other conditions. This will ensure that patients are re-referred to a haematology specialist as soon as possible.

Myeloma UK Grand Rounds

In collaboration with colleagues from the UKMF, Myeloma UK have developed a set of slides and a corresponding poster that are available for all haematologists to download and use in a Grand Round event. Please click the download buttons below.

We would like to acknowledge all participating hospitals through news stories and on our website, so if you have or intend to hold a Myeloma Grand Round, please could you complete the form below or inform Hannah Parkin on hannah.parkin@myeloma.org.uk. An example Myeloma UK Grand Rounds news story, including feedback from the host hospital can be read here.

“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.”
Dr Neil Rabin, North Middlesex Hospital

Primary care education

As myeloma diagnosis has the potential to start at the GP surgery providing a GP suspects myeloma and knows which blood tests to request, Myeloma UK are also eager to co-partner education events for GPs. One approach we have taken is to work with our support groups and local CCG teams to plan and host Haematology GP education sessions. Please get in touch if you can direct us to the relevant person in your local CCG or if you would be interested in hosting a GP education event at your hospital.