March is Myeloma action month.

The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) has asked multiple myeloma patients to raise awareness and early detection of this relatively unknown cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells. The theme for this year is #IAMRESILIENT2020.

Approximately 230,000 people worldwide, including 90,000 in the U.S., live with this chronic disease.

Myeloma is called ”multiple” because it can appear as a tumor, and/or bone loss; it can be active within the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, rib cage and more. Most people are diagnosed in their 60s and 70s with incidents more frequent in men and African Americans, but it can appear decades earlier in some cases. 

The most common symptoms are persistent or worsening tiredness, recurrent unexplained infections (pneumonia or sinus infections), back or any bone pain, swelling of the extremities or shortness of breath.

The IMF is a world renowned organization celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is a leader in funding research and education for patients and medical personnel. It also sponsors patient support groups throughout the world.

Learn more online at myeloma.org.

In 2017, a group of myeloma patients formed the Central Minnesota Multiple Myeloma Support Group. Its purpose is to give patients, caregivers, family and friends a place of comfort, support and education in the cancer journey. It is a great way to learn the advances in treatments and to profit from the experiences of those who have had treatment.

The group is made up of survivors ranging from the newly diagnosed to 12 years.

For information contact: Steve and Sheila Ellingboe at (320) 295-3940 or Tony and Bev Hartzburg at (320) 894-4312 or (320) 894-8101. Visit the group’s Web site at centralmn.support.myeloma.org.

One may also communicate via e-mail at centralmn@imfsupport.org.

The group welcomes anyone to join its monthly meetings each second Saturday of the month at the Willmar Fire Hall training room (515 Second Street SW in Willmar).