What are the Symptoms of Dying from Myeloma?

What are the Symptoms of Dying from Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects plasma cells, a type of white blood cell found in the bone marrow. The symptoms of late-stage multiple myeloma can indicate a person may be nearing the end of life. It’s important to note that each person’s experience may vary, and not everyone will have all these symptoms. Some common end-stage symptoms of myeloma may include:

  • Severe Fatigue and Weakness: Overwhelming tiredness and a noticeable decline in strength and energy.
  • Severe Pain: Intense bone pain, especially in areas where the cancer has spread, as myeloma often affects the bones.
  • Difficulty Breathing: Shortness of breath or labored breathing, which may be due to weakened lung function or complications.
  • Infections: Recurrent or severe infections, as myeloma weakens the immune system.
  • Confusion or Changes in Mental Status: Changes in awareness, confusion, disorientation, or other mental alterations.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Persistent or severe nausea and vomiting.
  • Weight Loss: Significant and unintentional weight loss.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: Challenges in swallowing, particularly if the cancer has spread to the throat or esophagus.
  • Swelling (Edema): Swelling in the legs, arms, or other parts of the body due to fluid retention.
  • Reduced Mobility: Difficulty moving, walking, or performing daily activities.
  • Changes in Skin Color: Pallor or changes in skin tone.
  • Loss of Appetite: Decreased interest in food and reduced appetite.

It’s essential for individuals in the advanced stages of multiple myeloma to receive supportive care, palliative care, and hospice services to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. A comprehensive approach that focuses on pain relief, emotional and psychological support, and addressing the individual’s and family’s needs is critical during this time.

Patients and their families should openly discuss end-of-life care preferences with their healthcare team and consider involving palliative care specialists to provide appropriate support and guidance. Each person’s end-of-life experience is unique, and compassionate care is vital to ensure comfort and dignity throughout the process.

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