When Cheryl Boyce experienced constant fatigue she saw her doctor, who suggested a blood test. The results were surprising. They led to a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that begins in the bone marrow and affects the plasma cells.
She was just 49 years old at the time. Most people with myeloma are diagnosed after age 65 and the disease is rare in people younger than age 35.
Interestingly, Boyce was working for the State of Ohio in the health field when she found out she was a patient too. Now 61, she is doing well and has become a well-known patient advocate.
Among her activities is serving on the board of directors of Multiple Myeloma Opportunities for Research and Education (MMORE), a national organization founded by the parents of a woman diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 22, who is also doing well.
In the not-so-distant past, the survival rate for multiple myeloma was not good. Today research has resulted in a host of new drugs, drugs used in combination with each other, and more refined techniques for bone marrow transplant.
People with multiple myeloma today are living longer and living better lives According to MMORE, just since 2005, survival rates have doubled from two to four years, to 4 to 10 years.
Learn more about the progress being made from this program, “Cheryl Boyce: Living Well with Multiple Myeloma” which is on Patient Power at http://goo.gl/ZsBJU/
Boyce discusses her journey, treatment and the importance of disease education in advance of a myeloma town meeting Sept 29, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio, which MMORE, Patient Power and other organizations are hosting. We will post videos from the meeting with additional information for patients and families after the meeting.
Boyce’s dedication to raising awareness about myeloma is inspiring. These days it is critical to get a correct diagnosis and take early action, guided by specialists who are "up" on the latest strategies (not all doctors are).
The good news is myeloma patients can find great hope in the progress that is being made, allowing people to live much longer, fuller lives. Work continues, of course, to find a cure.
About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, plus transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team.
Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis" found at www.websavvypatient.com/
Interview with Cheryl Boyce, Multiple Myeloma Patient Advocate, Posted 9/4/12 on Patient Power at
Multiple Myeloma, MedicineNet.com, Accessed online 9/14/12 at
Myeloma, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Accessed online 9/14/12 at
Patient Stories, MMORE, Multiple Myeloma Opportunities for Research and Education, Cheryl Boyce and Sara Kauffman-Fink, Accessed online 9/14/12 at
Reviewed September 14, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith