NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Multiple Myeloma, Version 1.2014
Deciding on a treatment plan Parts of a treatment plan
receive the supportive care you need. Supportive
care treats the symptoms of cancer and the side
effects caused by cancer treatment.
You may lose sleep before, during, and after
treatment. Getting less sleep can affect your
mood, conversations, and ability to do daily tasks.
If possible, allow yourself to rest, let people do
things for you, and talk with your doctor about sleep
medication. Behavioral sleep medicine—a type of talk
therapy—may also help.
Feelings of anxiety and depression are common
among people with cancer. You may feel anxious
before testing and while waiting for the results.
Likewise, you may have a passing depression during
a hard part of treatment. Feeling distressed may be a
minor problem or it may be more serious. Serious or
not, tell your treatment team so that you can get help
if needed. At your cancer center, cancer navigators,
social workers, and other experts can help. Help can
include support groups, talk therapy, or medication.
Some people also feel better by exercising, talking
with loved ones, or relaxing.
After cancer treatment, some people dislike their
looks because of side effects. Common concerns
include hair loss from chemotherapy and scars from
surgery. It can be difficult to adapt to these changes.
You may be concerned about what your partner
thinks. Likewise, your partner may act differently
and feel more like a caregiver than a partner during
treatment. Sharing what you need and want can help
you and your partner.
Financial stress may result from being unemployed
or missing work during treatment. Or, you may have
too little or no health insurance. Talk to your treatment
team about work, insurance, or money problems.
They will include information in the treatment plan to
help you manage your finances and medical costs.
Caring for caregivers
No one experiences cancer alone.
Having cancer can affect your loved ones,
especially those who provide care. This care
can take many forms. It can range from giving
emotional support to giving medical services in
the home. Caregivers often take on extra duties
to keep life normal for the family. They also play
a central role in explaining what is happening to
you to others, like friends and doctors.
It is natural for caregivers to focus on you. Don’t
feel guilty. However, caregivers need to meet
their own needs as well. Cancer treatment can
last from months to years. Caregivers often
get too tired from the physical and mental
challenges related to the cancer. It isn’t easy,
but caregivers need to take care of themselves.
If they don’t, they won’t be able to take good
care of anyone.