What Are the Stages of Multiple Myeloma?

Staging is the term oncologists use to define the extent of multiple myeloma and how much it has spread. Once the stage of multiple myeloma is determined, your physician can recommend a particular course of treatment.

Unlike other cancers, multiple myeloma has three clinical stages as measured by either the Durie-Salmon system or the International Staging System. In both systems, the lower the number, the more the cancer cells look like normal cells and the easier they are to treat and cure. A higher number means it has spread more deeply.

The place where cancer originates is called the primary site. Cancer can spread from the primary site to other parts of the body. It’s important to understand that even if multiple myeloma is found in your bones, it’s still considered multiple myeloma. For instance, if colon cancer has spread to the liver, it’s called metastatic colon cancer, not liver cancer.

Be sure to talk to your physician about your particular stage of cancer and how that will impact your treatment.