Get the Facts on Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a rare type of blood cancer that disproportionately impacts Black people. Because it’s uncommon and because of challenges within the healthcare system, MM is often overlooked — especially in Black people. As a result, the disease can go undetected until it has already progressed and spread through the body.

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A Promise to Ourselves and Our Community

That’s My Word is all about making a promise — to ourselves, our loved ones, and our community — to learn more, spread awareness about MM, and more proactively seek out care if we’re at risk.

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Do You Know Your Risk Factors for Multiple Myeloma?

Nobody looks out for our health better than we do. Since our chances of developing MM are higher than other groups, being aware of what puts us at a greater risk is important. These risks include:

  • Being older than 60
  • Having a close family member with MM
  • Being overweight

These are some of the risk factors that may increase your chance of developing MM, but they aren’t the only ones.

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Multiple Myeloma Awareness and Regular Checkups: 2 Key Steps to Early Detection

Let’s face it — if we don’t feel sick, going to the doctor can fall to the bottom of our to-do list. It’s important to remember: just because we can’t always feel what’s happening in our bodies doesn’t mean something isn’t going on.

We can live with multiple myeloma, especially if it’s caught early and treated. Like many diseases, the earlier it’s caught, the better the results.

It can be challenging to find MM early on since some people don’t feel symptoms until later stages. For others, the symptoms might be mild, could seem like signs of aging, or be disguised as other diseases with the same symptoms. That's why we need to get routine checkups with our doctor.

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Black men put up an armor. Whether it’s not getting checked out or [we] shy away from doing stuff for our health. I've made a point to do something personally. With the family history of my father and mother's side, I get checked out by the doctor regularly.

Justin R., Nephew of Keith Elam (Guru)

In consideration of the time spent participating in this activity, Justin R. was paid an honorarium by Janssen.
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Diagnosed With Multiple Myeloma, Now What?

If your doctor tells you that you have MM, it can feel overwhelming. You might feel shock, fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, disbelief, and other things.

Like many things in life, we have found ways to move forward and turn our challenges into opportunities. It’s often been in the presence of friends and family that we’ve found that strength and support. We are not alone.

There are steps we can take to get through this.

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Keeping Healthy Through Self-Advocacy

No one else can feel what’s happening in our bodies better than we can. So, nobody can speak on it better than we can.

Even if you think it might not matter, be vocal when something doesn’t feel right.

By speaking up for our health, we are advocating for ourselves.

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Building Your Support Team

Like any cancer, having multiple myeloma can take an emotional and physical toll. There are people in our lives who are ready and willing to help if we ask.

Our MM journeys are much easier when we know whom to turn to and whom to lean on.