I was invited to present the work of a group of healthcare professionals in the UK. It was part of the UKMF and it was a British Society of Haematology guideline that we put together. So this was on the late and long-term effects of myeloma. Pleasingly, myeloma patients are living much longer than they did 10-15 years ago and consequently, with all the newer treatments as well, we’re seeing an increased range of longer term effects and helping patients to manage that through education of healthcare professionals with this type of guideline was the aim.
What effects are we seeing?
The guideline we split into two broad categories. The first was the physical effects, so these are things like infections, heart problems, respiratory problems, second malignancies, which when people have had chemotherapy they’re at slightly higher risk of. And also things like bone problems, endocrine problems, basically the systems of the body that can be affected by the disease and the drugs that are used to treat the disease. But importantly this paper, guideline paper, also covered the other effects, so this is the psychosocial effects, so the effects on emotions, finances, social life, ability to work, just those holistic problems really that can be encountered by myeloma patients.
Were these guidelines developed recently?
We finished the writing of them towards the end of last year and they were published in The British Journal of Haematology in January so they are freely available on the internet, they’re a published guideline now. The other point is that the guidelines are predominantly for myeloma healthcare professionals but they are also very much directed at other specialists – primary care GPs who are increasingly involved in the management of patients if they are not on treatment or they are being looked after more in the community. With other problems such as heart problems, renal problems, they’ll see other specialists so it’s about that understanding across the whole spectrum of myeloma care and the specialists involved in that. So hopefully they will be useful for a range of professionals.