What to Know About Multiple Myeloma
- After beloved Ohio news anchor Nick Foley publicly announced his cancer journey, viewers and fans flooded social media with words of encouragement and prayers to help support him.
- Foley has multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable blood cancer of the plasma cells, which are white blood cells that produce antibodies used to fight diseases and infections within the body.
- Treatment options for multiple myeloma vary depending on the severity of the disease once it is diagnosed.
- Foley is undergoing radiation therapy, which uses high-dose X-rays to stop cancer cells from dividing.
- Foley hopes that by sharing his cancer diagnosis he can help other people be more mindful of their health and bodies.
After beloved Ohio news anchor Nick Foley shared his rare cancer diagnosis live on-air, viewers have been flooding social media to offer their support. Now, his public announcement is raising awareness about the disease and encouraging people to listen to their bodies.
Foley shared with his television viewers that he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that impacts blood plasma cells.Read More
“The diagnosis is definitely a terrifying development but we’ve had time to process and my family has an incredible support system here in the Miami Valley and beyond,” he added.
Foley has worked in the news industry for 25 years in several states, including Maine, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, and Pennsylvania. He now works as a morning news anchor for Dayton, Ohio’s WHIO TV station.
After his diagnosis, Foley said he is planning to get started with treatment right away. He plans to continue covering the news through treatment as much as he can.
“I plan to follow treatment and radiation to the letter and get the condition under control,” he said.
Viewers flocked to social media to send words of encouragement and prayers for him, offering support as he embarked on his journey.
“Praying for healing,” one fan wrote.
“We’re rooting for you, friend!” wrote another.
“Thank You for the overwhelming support you have shown me in my current battle against Multiple Myeloma. The comments and feedback were so much more than I could have ever expected. Your kind words and encouragement have been a huge blessing and lift to my spirits,” he said in a Facebook post.
However, Foley admitted he was scared after learning he had multiple myeloma.
It is normal after an unexpected cancer diagnosis to feel nervous or anxious. SurvivorNet experts recommend learning more about the disease to help control your fears about the unknown. They also suggest asking your doctor lots of questions and even getting a second opinion to better understand what the next few months and years may look like.
“I think it’s really important for them to be able to hear it multiple times, take notes,” Dr. Heather Yeo, a colorectal surgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine said.
“I support second opinions. I actually think it’s really important. I mean, if you think about it in life, how do you choose someone to cut your hair? You get an opinion, right? You usually don’t just go in and sit down with the first person you see on the street and say, cut my hair. You ask around,” Dr. Yeo added.
Understanding Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma, the disease Ohio news anchor Nick Foley is fighting, is a rare and incurable blood cancer of the plasma cells, which are white blood cells that produce antibodies used to fight diseases and infections within the body. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving you vulnerable to infections.
“In general having a blood cancer means that your bone marrow is not functioning correctly,” Dr. Nina Shah, a hematologist at the University of California San Francisco, explained to SurvivorNet.
Myeloma cancer cells are produced inside the bone marrow and since it can occur at many sites in the bone marrow, myeloma is also known as multiple myeloma.
More on Multiple Myeloma
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- Antibody as Part of Initial Treatment For Multiple Myeloma?
- Can Multiple Myeloma Patients Achieve a Durable Remission After Induction Therapy & Skip or Delay a Stem Cell Transplant?
- Clinical Trials for Multiple Myeloma: Why They Matter
“The bone marrow is the factory that makes all of the cells that wind up in our bloodstream,” Dr. Mikkael Sekeres, the chief of the Division of Hematology at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center told SurvivorNet.
Myeloma Symptoms and Risk Factors
At this time, it’s unclear what symptoms Foley experienced, if any, that led to his diagnosis. But common symptoms of multiple myeloma may include:
- Weakness, dizziness, and shortness of breath, which are signs of a low red blood cell count, called anemia
- Bone pain, which could be a sign of a fracture
- Peeing too much or too little, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting, which are symptoms of kidney failure
- Confusion, which is caused by too much calcium in the blood
- Frequent infections, because you have too few white blood cells to fight them
Factors that may increase your risk of multiple myeloma include:
- Older age – most people diagnosed are in their mid-60s.
- Being male – men are more likely to develop the disease than women.
- Being of African descent – Black people are more likely to develop multiple myeloma than other racial groups.
- Family history of multiple myeloma.
- Personal history of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).
WATCH: Doctors use a variety of tests to help monitor your multiple myeloma progression during the maintenance phase of treatment.
Treatment options for multiple myeloma vary depending on the severity of the disease once it is diagnosed. Treatment options include:
- Bone marrow (stem cell) transplant
- Targeted therapy
- Biologic therapy
Nick Foley’s treatment plan includes five cycles of radiation over five months, with four or five treatment days in each cycle.
Radiation uses high-dose X-rays to stop cancer cells from dividing. It is sometimes used to target myeloma in specific areas that may be causing issues. It is also used if there are tumors or deposits of myeloma cells that need to be treated, such as plasmacytoma which is a tumor made of abnormal plasma cells.
Any of these treatments can cause side effects, which may include nerve pain and fatigue. Your doctor can adjust your medication if you do have side effects. In general, you should start to feel better once your treatment starts to work.
Foley hopes that by sharing his cancer diagnosis he can help other people be more mindful of their health and bodies.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere and want my story to perhaps be a reminder to others to listen to their bodies and seek care immediately if something is not right,” Foley said.
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