Two years ago I attended my first ASH symposium with little sense of what I was in for. I walked away somewhat bewildered by the plethora of late-breaking information presented on the latest in treatments for blood cancers. As a multiple myeloma patient and support group leader, my interest was focused on that specific blood cancer, and it was encouraging to see a substantial focus on it.
This year I find myself most interested in focusing on smoldering myeloma. This is due in part to the fact that I believe I was smoldering a long time before diagnosis; and although I was diagnosed between stage 1 and 2 nearly 10 years ago and haven’t been treated since, some oncologists have referred to my status as smoldering. Watching and waiting is not particularly fun, but it does beat the other options. It definitely presents a dilemma for those who like everything to have a clear cut answer and pathway. It appears that a clear definition of smoldering may not even exist.
In 2013, there was much discussion of the benefits of early treatment of “high-risk” smoldering patients. Just recently I heard of “early active,” a new variation of smoldering. This weekend I hope to obtain a better insight into what we really mean when we refer to smoldering myeloma, and more important what the most effective strategies are for handling the cancer at this stage.