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Myeloma incidence projected to increase by 75% by 2025

Monday 25 June, 2012

New data released by Cancer Council Victoria today indicates a projected 75% increase of multiple myeloma diagnoses in Victoria between 2006 and 2025.

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow, the cause or causes of which are not yet known.

In the five years between 2006 and 2010, on average 398 Victorians per year were diagnosed with multiple myeloma; in the five years between 2021 and 2025 this is expected to rise to nearly 700 cases on average per year.

"These projections, published by the Victorian Cancer Registry, underline the importance of research into less common cancers, such as multiple myeloma, kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma ," Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said. "It is absolutely critical that we improve our understanding of less common cancers, including multiple myeloma, and their causes, so we can be in a better position to prevent these cancers and support people who are diagnosed in the future."

Forthy per cent of Victorians each year are diagnosed with a less common cancer and combined less common cancers account for 54% of all cancer-related deaths.

Cancer Council Victoria is currently undertaking a research project into less common cancers entitled ‘Forgotten Cancers' and is calling on Victorians over 18 years of age who have been affected by one of these cancers to participate in the study.

"If you have experienced a less common cancer you can help inform our research and improve our prevention, support and treatment programs in the future. At this stage all that's required is for you to complete an online survey and provide a saliva sample," said Mr Harper.

David Briggs, 55, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2006, hailed the importance of the research.

"Most people in the community wouldn't even know what multiple myeloma is. I've been very fortunate, and these days I'm busier than ever. What these statistics show is that the more we can learn about cancer, the better we will all be."

Mr Harper encouraged anyone (including family and friends) requiring support or information about any type of cancer to contact the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 and speak to one of our experienced cancer nurses.

The latest five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is 43%; compared to the five-year survival rate for all cancer which is 64%.
Full details on the Forgotten Cancers project, including the online survey, can be found at the Forgotten Cancers website.