Multiple myeloma diagnosis begins with a physical examination and discussion of any symptoms you’re experiencing. If multiple myeloma is suspected, several examinations are necessary for definitive diagnosis. Without these tests, it is impossible to make an accurate diagnosis, which will impact your ability to receive appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
A simple blood draw determines your levels of white and red blood cells. Abnormal levels may indicate myeloma.
This electricity-based test can detect proteins in the blood that indicate myeloma.
- Computer tomography (CT) scan. CT scans are useful for detecting the stage of the cancer being diagnosed. The scan’s results tell your doctor if the cancer has spread to your lungs, liver or other organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Typically, MRI scans are a great option for outlining a bone tumor and are also helpful for looking at the brain and spinal cord. MRI scans take longer than CT scans — usually up to an hour.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. PET scans are useful for examining cancer throughout your body and can help determine the current stage of the cancer. PET is sometimes used in conjunction with a CT scan to better pinpoint the cancer in question.
- X-ray. An X-ray image at the site of the cancer may reveal abnormalities that your health care providers are searching for.
Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.
When you are diagnosed with myeloma, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.
Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent myeloma, with a focus on individualized patient care.
Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the one and only NCI-designated cancer program in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including myeloma.
Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.
Should I get a second opinion?
A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating myeloma. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:
- You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
- A dedicated team specialized in myeloma may not be available in your area.
- There may be uncertainty around the stage of myeloma.
- You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.
Questions to ask when getting a second opinion
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:
- Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
- Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
- Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
- What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- How long are treatment recovery periods?
For more information, visit these trusted national sources for a variety of additional educational tools and resources: