Myeloma Module Debuts

NASW and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) announced that a new module has been developed to help people understand the complex disease multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer.

The module, "Living with Multiple Myeloma," complements the Cancer Survival Toolbox®, a free, self-learning audio program that helps people develop important skills to better meet and understand the challenges of their illness. The Toolbox and the new module were developed by NCCS and leading cancer organizations and specialists, including NASW.

The latest module was developed in part through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It focuses exclusively on multiple myeloma - explaining what it is, how it is controlled, and ways to cope with a chronic illness that, while not yet curable, has many options for treatment. The module can be listened to alone or along with the original Cancer Survival Toolbox to help clients deal with the challenges of cancer.

While multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, it affects men more than women. Research has shown that the highest rate of multiple myeloma occurs in African Americans.

The audio module includes content presented by a narrator who explains details of the disease. The module also includes comments from health care professionals and multiple myeloma patients who share their stories. For example, Stacy, a long-term multiple myeloma survivor, explains what it is like to live for many years with the disease and the effects it has had on her life.

On the next track, the narrator discusses treatment options. Many people with cancer, including multiple myeloma, have found that taking part in an educational support group can be helpful. The module includes a discussion by an oncology social worker, a doctor and an African American man who is retired.

The module includes a discussion by a social worker about the emotional and mental changes that can occur when a person is dealing with the effects and treatment of multiple myeloma.

Another segment deals with coping styles and suggestions on ways to adapt to the illness. There are many different types of help and support that a doctor, nurse or social worker can suggest, the narrator states.

"When first diagnosed with myeloma, there is so much to learn and adjust to that it often seems overwhelming," the narrator says. "Eventually, you and your family learn the language of myeloma and you become an expert about your treatment and care." The resource booklet that accompanies the Toolbox module contains many tips and resources to help manage life after a myeloma diagnosis.

The Cancer Survival Toolbox®, including the Living with Multiple Myeloma module, are available free online.