I am a five-year multiple myeloma (MM) survivor, taking Revlimid and having quarterly Zometa infusions for bone strengthening. I have been thinking about having a conversation with my oncologist about is it necessary for me to continue my maintenance treatment.

At the 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting an abstract was presented addressing this topic. I walked away hopeful about this discussion for the following reasons:

  • How long to be in maintenance mode is being discussed and effort is being put into answering the question of stopping.
  • There is no definitive direction that encourages stopping at this time, but what needs to be looked at is who can stop and when they can stop.
  • Stopping is something that must be addressed on an individual patient basis, which requires discussion between the patient and their oncologist.
  • The decision to stop is multifaceted. Patient’s overall health and other factors have to be considered.

Treatments for relapsed patients have improved and will continue to evolve. We will have to be mindful of what healthcare plans will support in making this decision. Patient advocacy with major healthcare providers may be appropriate to ensure that all participants involved in patient long-term care agree with the future direction of such care.