Article Text

A family’s experience of coping with multiple myeloma
  1. Patricia Jean Smith and
  2. Carol Lynn Cox
  1. Patricia Jean Smith is Research Fellow and PhD Student and Carol Lynn Cox is Professor of Nursing, Advanced Clinical Practice, Acting Deputy Director, Institute of Health Sciences, Department of Applied Biological Sciences, City University, St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery, London. Email: Patricia Smith: abbd532{at}


Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the red bone marrow that produces excess amounts of cloned plasma cells, osteolytic bone lesions, and the appearance of monoclonal proteins that may be found in the blood serum or urine. The aim of this article is to heighten awareness of this condition and provide some insight into the often aggressive nature of the disease within the context of end-of-life care. The narrative content portrays a vivid story of a dying mother, Susan, and how the family coped with the illness and impending death. The family had little time to come to terms with the diagnosis of cancer before Susan died. There is a definite need to increase understanding of the impact of this debilitating and incurable bone marrow cancer and to strengthen the evidence base for managing the disease in order to provide more supportive care. Conflict of interests: none

  • Coping strategies
  • Dying
  • Impact on family life
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Unrelenting disease

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