Multiple Myeloma Screening
The concept of "multiple myeloma screening" involves testing people for the disease who have no symptoms of the cancer. A routine, effective screening test for multiple myeloma has not yet been developed. While there is not yet a routine, effective multiple myeloma screening test available, there are tests that doctors can use to diagnose the cancer in people who do experience possible symptoms of the disease.
"Multiple myeloma screening" refers to testing people for the disease when they exhibit no multiple myeloma symptoms. At this point, a routine, effective multiple myeloma screening test has not yet been developed.
While there is no routine, effective screening test available for multiple myeloma, it may be helpful to understand more about cancer screening in general. Scientists have studied patterns of cancer in the population to learn:
- Which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer
- What things around us may cause cancer
- What things we do in our lives may cause cancer.
This information can help doctors recommend:
- Who should be screened for certain types of cancer
- What types of screening tests people should have
- How often these screening tests should be done.
If your doctor suggests certain cancer screening tests as part of your healthcare plan, this does not mean that your doctor thinks that you have cancer. Screening for cancer refers to testing people who do not show any symptoms. However, decisions about screening tests can be difficult. Patients should discuss screenings with their doctor and ask questions about the potential benefits and risks of screening tests and whether they have been proven to decrease the risk of dying from cancer. If your doctor suspects that you may have cancer, he or she will order diagnostic tests. Tests that are used for diagnostic purposes are usually not suitable for screening people who do not have symptoms.