November 1st 1998
The urge to control the manifestations of incurable chronic diseases, such as the anemia, renal failure, and bony disease of myeloma and the bone disease of breast cancer, is understandable. Successful control of these disease manifestations greatly improves a patient’s quality of life. This is especially important since patients with either of these malignancies may live with the disease for 20 years or more. Considerable success has been achieved in the correction of anemia with erythopoietin (Epogen, Procrit), and simple hydration has reversed renal failure and improved the survival of patients with myeloma. Anyone who has witnessed the frightening spasms of back pain in myeloma patients, precipitated by a sneeze or an attempt to turn over in bed, understands the dreadful fear that patients have of uncontrolled bone pain.