A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Living With Multiple Myeloma

multiple myeloma, treatment, survival, symptom burden, quality of life
ONF 2021, 48(2), 151-160. DOI: 10.1188/21.ONF.151-160

Purpose: To explore the ways in which multiple myeloma affects an individual’s life in the modern treatment era.

Participants & Setting: 15 individuals with multiple myeloma and 10 clinicians were recruited from two academic medical centers in the southeastern United States.

Methodologic Approach: Semistructured interviews were conducted with individuals with multiple myeloma and clinicians to explore the effect of a multiple myeloma diagnosis and treatment on individuals’ lives. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using conventional content analysis.

Findings: The following four themes emerged from the analysis: treatment without end, social impacts and isolation, ongoing financial pressure, and relationship impacts.

Implications for Nursing: The treatment journey for those with multiple myeloma can be lifelong and may require frequent visits to an oncologist and, potentially, many successive lines of therapy. Life effects are far-reaching and long-term. Nurses should be aware of the interprofessional resources to help meet these individuals’ needs. With thorough assessment, care planning, and education, nurses can play a key role in mitigating the negative effects of multiple myeloma and its treatment.

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