Multiple myeloma is a rare form of blood cancer that attacks plasma
cells - white blood cells that normally produce antibodies to fight
People diagnosed with multiple myeloma are more likely to live longer
if they are treated at a medical center that sees many patients with
this blood cancer. Mayo Clinic researchers published these findings
today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology
The study measures the difference in life expectancy for
patients treated by doctors with varying degrees of experience with the
‘People diagnosed with multiple myeloma are more likely to live longer if they are treated at a medical center that sees many patients with this blood cancer.’
"Studies on cancer surgery have shown the more experience the center
or practitioner has, the better the outcome," states study author
Ronald Go, a hematologist and health care delivery researcher at
Mayo Clinic. "It is very difficult to be proficient when doctors are
seeing only one or two new cases of multiple myeloma per year. We wanted
to see if volume matters when it comes to nonsurgical treatment of rare
cancers such as multiple myeloma."
The new research shows multiple myeloma patients benefit from
treatment at more experienced centers. For example, patients treated at
centers seeing 10 new patients per year had a 20% higher risk of
death than those treated at centers seeing 40 new patients per year.
Most cancer treatment centers in the United States see fewer than 10 new
multiple myeloma patients per year.
The researchers used the National Cancer Database, examining outcomes for 94,722 multiple myeloma patients at 1,333 centers.
These findings previously were presented at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in December 2015.