Group provides myeloma support

A myeloma support group has started in Latrobe Valley that aims to raise awareness and assist people living with the condition in the area.

Myeloma Australia support nurse Laura Jones said the group has started meeting at the Gippsland Rotary Centenary House in Traralgon and they hope to attract more members in the Valley including families of people diagnosed with the condition.

Myeloma is a type of bone marrow cancer that arises from plasma cells. It is a chronic, relapsing and remitting disease and is a lifetime condition.

While there is no cure for myeloma, treatment can control the disease for many years allowing patients to live longer.

"More and more people are living longer with the disease and people can live up to 10 years after diagnosis," Ms Jones told The Express.

She said the group had their first meeting in February and most of the people's concerns revolved around side effects, how people cope mentally, the introduction of new drugs, living with the condition, travelling, and talking to children about their diagnosis.

Ms Jones said people living with myeloma in the Valley found there was very little local support when they came back from their treatments in the city, so having a peer group to go to was a huge relief for them and their families.

Ms Jones said there was about 1800 Australians who are diagnosed with myeloma each year and it was most common in people aged 60 years and older with men being affected more than women.

The Traralgon information and support group runs from 10am-12noon every third Wednesday of alternate months. Their next meeting is scheduled on April 18 at the Gippsland Rotary Centenary House.