ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.
Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.
How many people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma?
In 2023, an estimated 35,730 adults (19,860 men and 15,870 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Worldwide, an estimated 176,404 people were diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2020.
It is estimated that 12,590 deaths (7,000 men and 5,590 women) from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023. In 2020, an estimated 117,077 people worldwide died from multiple myeloma.
What is the survival rate for multiple myeloma?
There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from multiple myeloma. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with multiple myeloma are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.
Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.
It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with multiple myeloma are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.
The 5-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma in the United States is about 58%.
The survival rates for multiple myeloma vary based on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works. For instance, it is known that survival rates for multiple myeloma are higher in younger people than in older people.
There are 2 conditions that arise before myeloma. One is called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and the other is called smoldering myeloma (SMM). MGUS typically means that there are less than 10% plasma cells in the marrow and there is no evidence of organ damage. For people diagnosed with MGUS, the risk of progression to myeloma is 1% per year. A person with MGUS should be regularly monitored for health changes by their doctor. People who have SMM may develop myeloma and should also be monitored by their doctor. There is emerging evidence that suggests that people who have a high-risk type of SMM should be offered early treatment or be monitored.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for multiple myeloma every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how multiple myeloma is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, the International Agency for Research on Cancer website, and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed February 2023.)
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by multiple myeloma. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.