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How Relapse Is Detected

You may or may not be able to tell your multiple myeloma is back. That’s because relapse only shows symptoms some of the time. If you’re not feeling any different, learning your multiple myeloma has returned may come as a surprise.

If you feel new or worsened symptoms, be sure to tell your care team. How you’re feeling may be related to your treatment, or it can be a sign that your multiple myeloma has returned.

Your doctor may see signs of relapse using a lab test or imaging study. They will regularly monitor your multiple myeloma using the same tests used at diagnosis. Repeating the same tests will give them a good sense of comparison.

These tests may include blood and urine tests that help to measure the monoclonal protein (sometimes called “M protein”) that myeloma cells release into your blood and/or urine. Your doctor may also check your bones using imaging studies like x-ray or MRI. They may evaluate your bone marrow, as well, requiring aspiration and biopsy.

If your multiple myeloma has relapsed, your doctor may recommend a change in treatment.

Related information

Learn about treatment options

Treating Relapsed Multiple Myeloma

Learn about how multiple myeloma may be treated when a relapse occurs.

Dealing With Emotions About Relapse

Learn ways to help manage your feelings about relapse.

Kenny’s Story

Hear how Kenny dealt with a multiple myeloma relapse, and how he chooses to live today.

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