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Dr. Richter on Findings of a Study on Symptom Management in Multiple Myeloma

Joshua Richter, MD, a hematologist/oncologist specializing in multiple myeloma at the John Theurer Cancer Center, discusses the findings from a study on the incidence and survival impact of self-reported symptom and psychological distress for patients with multiple myeloma.

Joshua Richter, MD, a hematologist/oncologist specializing in multiple myeloma at the John Theurer Cancer Center, discusses the findings from a study on the incidence and survival impact of self-reported symptom and psychological distress for patients with multiple myeloma.

The survey turned out to give some surprising results, explains Richter. The whole survey gave a rank score between 0-112. Any score with 29 or greater was associated with decreased outcomes across all cancers.

In terms of distress score correlating to outcome there is a trend that suggests those with higher distress scores did have worse outcomes, explains Richter. However, that was not statistically significant, as it had a P value of 0.66.

An interesting point was the depression modality, states Richter. The patients were given a 2 question screening for depression. It asks about feelings of depression and feelings of anhedonia. It turns out that although 15% of patients reported depression, 41% of patients reported anhedonia, which is highly consistent with depression as a larger scale. Patients give insight to physicians of when they are ready to transition towards palliative care or cessation of chemotherapy.

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