STEP 1: Prevention and early detection


The causes of multiple myeloma (MM) are not fully understood, and there is currently no clear prevention strategy.

Risk factors

The risk factors for developing MM include:

  • age (occurs mainly in people aged over 60)
  • clinically defined monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
  • having a first-degree relative with MM, however the absolute risk for anyone with a relative with MM is low
  • people of black African, Maori or Pacific Islander descent
  • gender (males have a slightly higher risk)
  • a high body mass index
  • exposure to radiation and chemicals, but published evidence has not been consistent.

Early detection

There is currently no established benefit to early detection of MGUS, the pre- malignant phase of myeloma.

Screening recommendations

There is no indication for screening for MM in the general population, but patients with MGUS or smouldering myeloma require regular monitoring to assess for possible progression to MM.

General health checklist

  • Recent weight changes discussed and recorded
  • Alcohol intake and smoking status discussed and support offered if appropriate
  • Physical activity recorded
  • Referral to a dietitian, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist considered
  • Sun smart advice