I missed a key point in the information that was presented. It was not the fact that the average life expectancy is 9.75 years vs. the national average of 4 years, it is the fact that almost 40% of his patients are projected to be alive after 16 years. Their treatment was started in the era prior to all the new novel drugs and the national average life expectancy was about 2.5 years. Why is this significant? The National Cancer Institutes data for 16 year survival is now 8.2%. So if you were under Dr. Berenson's care 16 years ago, you were 4.9 times more likely to survive. How did I let that fact slip by? I saw his graph again recently when I went to file it away and had an aha moment, and felt compelled to share it with the myeloma patient community.
One of the elements that I have noted in my study of myeloma is that the longer you live as a myeloma patient, the longer you will continue to live. This is because the probability of death goes down for each year that you survive. Another key point is that as an average American, if you reach 70 years of age, your life expectancy is 16 more years or to the age of 86. This means that 50% live longer and 50% do not. The average age of a myeloma patient is 70. It is therefore almost beyond belief to think that roughly 40% of Berenson's patients are projected to survive nearly 16 years. Dr. Berenson uses the minimum amount of treatment to obtain control, and has been know for this minimalist/quality of life approach. What I have found is that if you have a skilled myeloma specialist on your team, their methods might be vastly different, but the best will show excellent performance based results. The graph and information provided by IMBCR is noted below.
May God Bless your Myeloma journey and as always together we can "SAVE LIFE"/ Gary Petersen firstname.lastname@example.org