Amrita Krishnan, M.D., Director, Judy and Bernard Briskin Center for Multiple Myeloma Research
Myeloma is group of cancers with overlapping features — identifying its different forms is challenging —and since every patient’s disease looks different, getting an accurate diagnosis is important.
For these reasons treatment at City of Hope begins with leading-edge diagnostics, performed by world-renowned hematopathologists who are well versed about the entire spectrum of this disease. This powerful combination of experience, next generation technology and talent is why City of Hope is known for improving survival among myeloma patients, especially those with advanced or misdiagnosed disease.
How myeloma is diagnosed
Myeloma is diagnosed using various tests, including:
- Blood and urine tests, usually the first tests performed that look for myeloma
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, taking a small sample of marrow cells from inside the bone and looking at them under a microscope
Once a diagnosis is determined, other tests may be performed to figure out how much myeloma is in the body, how aggressive it is and where it is located. Those tests include:
- Imaging tests: PET, MRI and CT scanning
- Genetic testing
At City of Hope, diagnosis involves performing an extra layer of assessment among older patients to determine how well they can tolerate treatments such as chemotherapy.