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Multiple myeloma, patient-friendly pathways and treatments

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Multiple myeloma, patient-friendly pathways and treatments

Patients, caregivers, community. In multiple myeloma, a blood tumor due to the uncontrolled growth of plasma cells, cells of the immune system responsible for the production of antibodies, everyone looks at the disease differently, looks that more effective management can reconcile. For patients it is a question of quality of life, because the symptoms of the disease are often severe bone pain, but also asthenia and tiredness generated by anemia, with complications that can also include kidney failure. For caregivers, however, it is a question of support and organisation, often accompanied by personal or professional sacrifices, with a very intense psychological and emotional burden: also because multiple myeloma, which represents around 10% of haematological pathologiestypically affects people around 60 years of age, and therefore also burdens elderly partners.

Finally, for the community, it is a question of costs: a recent study conducted by EEHTA-CEIS of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” has quantified the economic impact of multiple myeloma on the National Health Service and on Social system, estimating a total annual cost of over €25,000 per patient. How it is possible to improve the quality of life of patients and caregivers without burdening the NHS was discussed during the webinar “Multiple Myeloma Challenge. Resources, Innovation and New Models of taking charge”, promoted by EEHTA-CEIS of the University of Rome Tor Vergata and with the unconditional contribution of Sanofi.

Costs

“Our analysis shows how hospital care alone involves an average expense borne by the NHS of approximately €14,800 per subject, to which are added direct costs borne by the patient, relating to the purchase of drugs, specialist visits and personal assistance, equal to €2,280,” said Paolo Sciattella, EEHTA researcher at the Center for Economic and International Studies (CEIS) in Tor Vergata. “Finally, the indirect costs, deriving from the loss of working days of the patient and caregiver and days with reduced productivity, amount on average to €8,158”.

The contribution of the research

Fortunately, explained Claudio Cerchione, Medical Research Director at the Hematology Division of the Romagna Institute for the Study of Tumors “Dino Amadori” – IRST IRCCS of Meldola, “in recent years scientific research has made great strides forward. Today, traditional chemotherapy is almost no longer used and almost all treatments are based on immunotherapy. Thanks to the research conducted in centers of excellence, such as the IRST-IRCCS in Meldola, the focus is on the biomarkers of myeloma, i.e. on the molecular profiles of the pathology, with the aim of giving increasingly personalized care to each patient”.

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And yet, these improvements in patients’ survival and quality of life open the doors to new needs: not only that of guaranteeing access to new technologies, but also and above all that of providing continuity of care and early and multidisciplinary to optimize the management of the pathology and improve the efficiency of the treatment and assistance system as a whole.

Taking charge

“The experience of the patient with multiple myeloma, as in the case of other blood cancers, is in fact burdened by multiple difficulties,” added Giuseppe Toro, President of the National Association of Leukemia Patients (AIL). “Only a global management that increasingly involves the institutions can promote effective access to therapies, allowing the patient’s needs to be met. Needs ranging from home care to privileged outpatient courses, for example in case of motor difficulties, up to psychological support, considering that the pathology has an uncertain course, which alternates acute phases and phases of remission”. With the aim of improving the quality of life not only of the patient, but also of the caregiver.

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