Multiple Myeloma was once considered a death sentence, a cancer with limited options for treatment that often left patients with a short life expectancy. However, thanks to advancements in medical technology and research, Multiple Myeloma can now be considered a chronic disease. Early detection and targeted therapy have transformed the way this disease is treated, offering patients a chance at a longer, healthier life.
Moustafa Kamel, Medical Affairs Director at Janssen South Africa, said that there have been recent ground-breaking developments in the treatment of Multiple Myeloma. While it is not a common form of cancer, typically only impacting less than a percentile of the population, advances in treatment lays a foundation for better, overall treatment of cancers.
Kamel explained that cancer originates when a normal cell mutates, causing it to multiply rapidly and uncontrollably. Cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body, making early detection critical to ensuring a better chance at a positive outcome.
Kamel said: “With early detection and targeted therapy, Multiple Myeloma is no longer a death sentence. We can now treat the disease as a chronic condition, offering patients a higher quality of life and the potential for longevity.”1
In the past, the options for treating Multiple Myeloma were limited to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. While these treatments were effective, they were also toxic to both cancerous and normal cells, leading to significant side effects and limited efficacy. With the development of targeted therapy, treatment can now be focused on the tumour cells specifically, resulting in a longer duration of treatment until relapse occurs.
“Targeted therapy is a game-changer for the treatment of cancer,” Kamel said. “It targets specific molecules or pathways that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells, while sparing healthy cells. This approach has transformed the way we treat Multiple Myeloma and other types of cancer, offering patients more effective and tolerable treatments.”
The identification of high-risk patients in the pre-cancerous state is another promising development in the fight against Multiple Myeloma. By identifying these patients early, physicians and oncologists can take steps to prevent the transformation of pre-Multiple Myeloma into full-blown Multiple Myeloma. This approach has the potential to help patients before the cancer becomes advanced.
“We are committed to finding new and better ways to fight cancer,” Kamel emphasised. “Our ultimate goal is to eradicate Multiple Myeloma altogether, but until then, we will continue to work tirelessly to improve the lives of patients living with this condition.”
Living with cancer is not easy, and patients must deal with the cancer itself, the treatment, and the side effects of that treatment. The mental and emotional toll can be significant, not just on the patient, but also on their families and caregivers. Cancer can often lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges, adding to the already overwhelming physical challenges.
“This is why at Janssen South Africa, we are committed to supporting patients not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally,” Kamel said.
In addition to physical care, it is important for patients to receive emotional and mental support throughout their cancer journey. Cancer can be a challenging and isolating experience, but with the right support, patients can feel empowered and supported.
“We believe that every patient deserves the best possible care, and that includes not only physical care, but also emotional and mental care,” Kamel said. “It is important that treatment includes mental wellness with patients and their families, that they’re supported throughout their cancer journey, and to know that they are not alone; there are resources available to help them through a difficult time.”
Janssen is dedicated to advancing research and development in the fight against cancer and other serious diseases. The company is committed to discovering and developing innovative medical solutions to address unmet needs and improve patient outcomes.
“We will continue to invest in research and development to find new and better treatments for cancer,” Kamel said. “Our commitment to patients is unwavering, and we will work tirelessly to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.”