NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – is reaching out to primary care doctors, lawmakers, and patients to raise awareness of the disease during the organization's 2017 Myeloma Action Month campaign, starting Mar. 1.
Myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma cells that affects approximately 90,000 people in the US, is the second most common blood cancer. Yet because it is a relatively unknown cancer, myeloma can go undiagnosed until the disease begins to seriously damage health. With more treatment options available than ever, an early diagnosis is vital for achieving the best outcome for patients.
The IMF is the oldest and largest foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. Its reach extends to more than 450,000 members in 140 countries worldwide.
"The IMF is proud to lead the charge to assist health care professionals, lawmakers, and patient advocates to take actions that will increase awareness about myeloma across the United States and in the world," said IMF President and Co-Founder Susie Novis Durie.
The IMF campaign is named Myeloma Action Month to reflect the dynamic, proactive approach it is taking to educate those who affect myeloma patients' lives. For example, US primary care doctors who may not be familiar with myeloma but who are on the front lines of a potential diagnosis will receive a letter written by IMF Chairman Dr. Brian Durie but sent to the physicians by their own patients. The one-page letter spells out potential myeloma symptoms and red flags. The letter can be downloaded and personalized at the IMF's Myeloma Action Month website, http://mam.myeloma.org/.
Dr. Durie notes that in 70 percent of myeloma patients, the most frequent early warning signals of myeloma are persistent or recurrent unexplained back or other bone pain, fever or history of recurrent or persistent infections, unexplained fatigue, shortness of breath, unusual bleeding, and rash.
"However, 30 percent of myeloma patients can actually have no symptoms at all," he said. Red flags in those patients who display no symptoms are increased total protein and/or an increase in levels of one of two immunoglobulin antibodies – IgG or IgA, abnormal protein in the urine, unexplained anemia, and unexplained increase in serum creatinine.
IMF's Advocacy team is working to garner a Federal resolution recognizing March 2017 as "National Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month," as it successfully did in 2016, and the month will be peppered with educational events:
- A daylong Regional Community Workshop will be held in Seattle, WA, Feb. 25 and will feature interactive sessions with myeloma experts.
- In early March, listeners can tune in to a lively conversation among three myeloma researchers addressing patients' top concerns, followed by a Q&A, during the free "Living Well with Myeloma" teleconference.
- An IMF Patient & Family Seminar in Boca Raton, FL., Mar. 17–18 will cover such topics as best therapies for elderly patients, best therapies for patients opting for transplant, management of bone disease, new clinical trials, and more.
- Post-Myeloma ACTION Month, a regional community workshop will take place in Virginia Beach, VA, Apr. 1, and an IMF Patient & Family Seminar will be held in Short Hills, NJ, Apr. 7–8.
To learn about more opportunities to take action, please visit the IMF's Myeloma ACTION Month website.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the oldest and largest foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation's reach extends to more than 450,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org. Follow the IMF on Twitter @IMFmyeloma.
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SOURCE International Myeloma Foundation