Active monitoring for smouldering myeloma

Myeloma with no symptoms is called smouldering myeloma. You may have active monitoring, which means delaying treatment until it is needed.

If you have no symptoms from myeloma (called smouldering myeloma), you may not need treatment straight away. Instead you may be offered active monitoring. This means your doctor will see you every few months to take blood samples and do some other tests.

There is no strong evidence that having treatment at this stage helps you. And waiting to start treatment means you feel well for longer because you will not have treatment side effects. If the myeloma begins to get worse or you get symptoms, your doctor will talk to you about starting treatment.

You would only be offered treatment for smouldering myeloma as part of a clinical trial.

If you are worried about not having treatment, you might find these tips helpful:

  • Make sure you understand why active monitoring is recommended. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.
  • Think of the period without treatment as a time to focus on your quality of life.
  • Use it to do things you enjoy, and to get as fit and healthy as you can.
  • Try to focus on the present rather than what might happen in the future.
  • Talk about your feelings. You can do this by talking to family and friends, joining a support group or online forum, or by keeping a journal.

Although active monitoring can be difficult to adjust to at first, many people find it gets easier as time goes on.