1 IN 2

1 in 2 of us will be diagnosed with cancer by age 85.
Donate now

Multiple Myeloma Cancer Statistics

What is multiple myeloma?

Myeloma occurs when plasma cells (white blood cells) in the bone marrow grow and divide in an abnormal, uncontrolled way, reducing the bodies ability to produce normal blood cells. Multiple myeloma is when patients have multiple bone lesions at the time of diagnosis, which occurs in approximately 90% of cases.

You can access further information about multiple myeloma, including risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment from Cancer Council Victoria. You can also call our trusted cancer nurses on 13 11 20 for support and to learn about our range of services for people affected by cancer.

The Victorian Cancer Registry also operates an interactive web portal, Data Explorer, which provides more trends and statistics than published here.

How common is multiple myeloma?

In 2021, 639 Victorians were diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Of these, there were 372 males and 267 females, representing 58.2% and 41.8% of the total Victorian multiple myeloma diagnoses, respectively. Currently, multiple myeloma is diagnosed at a rate of 6 per 100,000 males and 3.7 per 100,000 females. The median age at diagnosis of multiple myeloma is 71 years in males and 72 in females (Figure 1 & 2). Accounting for 1.8% of all cancers diagnosed and 2.1% of all cancer-related deaths in 2021, multiple myeloma was the 16th most commonly diagnosed cancer and the 16th most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Victoria in 2021.

Figure 1: Distribution of multiple myeloma incidence in 2021, by sex within age groups

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2023)

Figure 2: Distribution of multiple myeloma incidence in 2021, compared to the distribution of the Victorian population in 2021, by 5-year age brackets

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2023)

Geographical variance in multiple myeloma by local government area

Figure 4 demonstrates variation in age-standardised incidence rates of multiple myeloma, by local government areas. Darker shading indicates areas with higher rates of multiple myeloma.

Figure 4: Variation in the incidence of multiple myeloma for the period 2017-2021, by location of residence in Victoria

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2023)

Multiple myeloma in people born overseas

Figure 5 shows the age standardised incidence rates of multiple myeloma in Australian-born Victorians compared to other major migrant groups, over the five-year period 2017 to 2021. The highest age standardised incidence rate for mutlipe myeloma was 7.7 for males born in the North America region and the lowest rate of 3.4 was observed in males born in the North-East Asia region. The highest age standardised incidence rate for multiple myeloma was 5.8 for females born in the Africa region and the lowest rate of 1 was observed in females born in the North-East Asia region.

Figure 5: Age standardised incidence rates and 95% confidence intervals for multiple myeloma in Victorians born in Australia compared to Victorians born in other countries for the period 2017-2021, by sex

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2023)

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2023)

Multiple myeloma five-year relative survival

Figure 6 shows the change in 5-year survival for multiple myeloma, and the 5-year survival trend for all cancers over the same time period. It demonstrates that five-year relative survival has increased for multiple myeloma between 1986-1990 and 2016-2020 from 29% to 63%.

Figure 6: Trend in five year relative survival following diagnosis of multiple myeloma in five year brackets, from the period 1986-1990 to 2016-2020

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2023)

This webpage was last updated in February 2023

Talking bubbles icon

Questions about cancer?

Call or email our experienced cancer nurses for information and support.

Contact a cancer nurse