Prompt diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia are key to ensuring patient survival, improving their quality of life and, in some cases, curing them, a specialist said on Tuesday.
“Rapid diagnosis continues to be a challenge for both diseases, primarily due to nonspecific symptoms,” Amgen Mexico Medical Director Efe Max Saráchaga told Efe.
As part of World Hematological Cancer Month, which is commemorated in September, the specialist praised the importance of informing and raising awareness of these types of cancers, since in 2020 there were 176,404 new cases of multiple myeloma and 474,519 leukemias have been recorded worldwide. . .
“These diseases are very relevant and affect not only the world, but also Mexico,” he said.
He explained that acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common cancer in children under 14, with probably around 2,000 new cases per year, while multiple myeloma affects adults more, with around 2,500 new cases diagnosed. every year.
SYMPTOMS ARE A BARRIER TO DETECTION
Saráchaga explained that although prompt diagnosis is very important, one of the main obstacles is that the symptoms of both diseases are very non-specific.
“For example, in the case of leukemia, there is paleness, lack of energy, probably bleeding gums, bruising with minor trauma, and sometimes it’s not so easy to think of leukemia at the start,” he said.
Whereas in the case of myeloma, he added, the same thing happens because patients start out with bone pain “and maybe go through several doctors before they get the correct diagnosis.”
The expert pointed out that the correct detection and diagnosis of these diseases in a timely manner is essential to start treatment as soon as possible, especially since there are currently innovative therapies that can save the lives of patients.
“This is particularly important in children with leukemia, where it is considered an emergency oncological disease because it is a disease that progresses very quickly and which in just a few weeks can seriously deteriorate the health of children,” said he warned.
In this case, he says, the survival of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia has increased markedly in recent decades thanks to bispecific monoclonal antibodies, going from a survival of less than 10% in the 1960s to a disease-free survival. greater than 85%. currently.
Similarly, there are hematopoietic cell transplants which “allow in many cases, particularly in leukemia, to cure patients and, in the case of myeloma, to prolong their survival very significantly”, specifies the expert.
Finally, Saráchaga clarified that it is important for patients to consult a specialist for any information that seems inappropriate in their body “because having a timely diagnosis gives the patient a better chance of moving forward”, a- he concluded.