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INTRODUCTION: Late presentation of multiple myeloma (MM) heightens the risk of complication risks, including end-organ damage. This study aimed to: 1) detail the diagnostic journey of MM patients, encompassing symptoms, initial diagnoses, and healthcare professionals met; 2) establish the median duration from symptom onset to MM diagnosis; and 3) examine factors linked to timely MM diagnosis within 12 weeks. METHODS: A total of 300 adults self-reporting MM were analysed from the Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases cohort Study (RUDY). The RUDY study is a web-based platform, where participants provide dynamic consent and self-report their MM diagnosis and information about their diagnostic journey. This includes the estimated date of initial potential first symptoms, descriptions of these symptoms, the healthcare professionals they consulted, and other diagnoses received before the MM diagnosis. Descriptive statistics, combinatorial analyses and logistic regression analyses were used to describe and examine the diagnostic journey of individuals with MM. RESULTS: Overall, 52% of the participants reported other diagnoses before MM diagnosis, with musculoskeletal disorders (47.8%), such as osteoporosis, costochondritis, or muscle strains, being the most common. The most prevalent initial reported symptom was back pain/vertebral fractures (47%), followed by chest/shoulder pain, including rib pain and fractures (20%), and fatigue/tiredness (19.7%). 40% of participants were diagnosed by direct referral from primary care to haematology without seeing other healthcare professionals whilst 60% consulted additional specialists before diagnosis. The median time from symptom onset to MM diagnosis was 4 months (IQR 2-10 months, range 0-172). Seeing an Allied Healthcare Professional such as a physiotherapist, chiropractor or an osteopath (OR = 0.25, 95% CI [0.12, 0.47], p <0.001), experiencing infection symptoms (OR = 0.32, 95% CI [0.13, 0.76], p = 0.013), and having chest or shoulder pain (OR = 0.45, 95% CI [0.23, 0.86], p = 0.020) were associated with a lower likelihood of being diagnosed with MM within 12 weeks. Older age (OR = 1.04, 95% CI [1.02, 1.07], p = 0.001) was associated with a higher likelihood of diagnosis within 12 weeks. DISCUSSION: Developing resources for allied health professionals may improve early recognition of MM.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Oncol

Publication Date





diagnostic delay, digital platforms, dynamic consent, myeloma, oncology