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5 Mistakes to Avoid During Multiple Myeloma Remission

Remission is good news—but it doesn’t mean an end to doctor’s visits. Here’s what you need to know.

A young woman in multiple myeloma remission adding a doctor's appointment to her calendar.

If your doctor has declared that your multiple myeloma is in remission—whether partial or complete—that’s excellent news. Congratulations! However, with any cancer and particularly with multiple myeloma, which is known to be incurable, remission doesn’t mean that your care is over. Doctor visits will continue, along with tests to monitor your health. You may need to have maintenance treatment, as well.

Here are five common mistakes that people make during remission, and how to avoid them. 

Mistake #1: Skipping doctor’s appointments.

During treatment for your multiple myeloma, you may have sometimes wished to never see a doctor’s waiting room again or put on another hospital gown. While remission does not mean an end to health-focused appointments, the number of them may diminish. Your doctor will provide a follow-up plan for appointments and tests—make sure to stick to this schedule. Plus, is it possible that during treatment, you neglected your other healthcare providers? If it’s been awhile since you went to the dentist, eye doctor or primary care provider, take some time to get those appointments scheduled.

Mistake #2: Avoiding maintenance therapy

In many cases—and particularly with a partial remission—doctors will prescribe maintenance therapy. This is intended to stop cancer from returning or progressing. As with any cancer treatment, there can be side effects, although they should be less severe with maintenance therapy since those are prescribed at lower dosages.  Alert your doctor if the drugs have a major impact on your quality of life, since adjustments may be possible. Do not, however, avoid the therapy entirely, since it can help you continue to be in remission.

Mistake #3: Neglecting your emotional health

Often, as the pace of cancer treatment slows down or halts completely, depression, stress, and extreme anxiety can follow. Do not neglect your emotional health, or dismiss strong emotions as being unwarranted. Watch carefully for signs of depression, such as sleepless nights and changes in appetite, and consider seeing a counselor if they do not abate.

Mistake #5: Overlooking self-care and general wellness tips 

All the general guidelines for good health apply to people in remission from multiple myeloma. What does that mean? Well, if you’re still smoking, quit. And, look to reach a healthy weight, avoid drinking too much alcohol, eat a balanced and healthy diet, and make exercise part of your day-to-day routine. Maintaining these habits is good for your health—and could help extend your remission.

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