Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:
- type and stage of cancer
- level of fitness
- previous treatment
These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.
Survival statistics for myeloma
The following statistics are for people diagnosed with all stages of myeloma.
Generally for people with myeloma in England:
- almost 85 out of every 100 (almost 85%) will survive their myeloma for a year or more after diagnosis
- more than 50 out of every 100 (more than 50%) will survive their myeloma for 5 years or more after diagnosis
- around 30 out of every 100 (around 30%) will survive their myeloma for 10 years or more after they are diagnosed
Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019
Office for National Statistics, for England only, ages 15-99 for 2013-2017.
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
What affects survival
Your outcome depends on the stage of your myeloma when it is diagnosed. This means how advanced it is. The doctors do blood, urine and bone marrow tests to find out what stage your myeloma is.
Another important factor is your age and fitness, and the type of treatment you have. Doctors call how well you are your performance status. There are some very intensive treatments available for myeloma and to have them you need to be well enough to get through them.
It is a good sign if your myeloma responds well to treatment and goes into complete remission. Remission means that there is no physical sign of your disease and no longer any abnormal immunoglobulin in your blood or urine. Remission can last for months or years, but unfortunately the myeloma is likely to come back eventually and will then need further treatment.
Myeloma can be variable in how it behaves. In some people, it develops very slowly and so the outlook will be better. It is best to discuss this with your own specialist. It may be a while before your doctors can say how your myeloma is likely to behave.
About these statistics
The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years. Some people live much longer than 5 years.
For more information about survival and other statistics about myeloma, go to our Cancer Statistics section.