Patterns of multiple myeloma in a Swedish city in the past 5 decades…

Sherlock, grazie!, sent me the link to an abstract published in the March 2010 “Mayo Clinic Proceedings” ( Unfortunately, she didn’t have access to the full study…I would really love to have a look at the whole shebang, since, truth be told, the abstract left me with more questions than answers…

These are the main points that we can glean from the abstract:

1. the study concerns 773 patients diagnosed with myeloma between 1950 and 2005 in Malmö, the third most populous city in Sweden.

2. the number of cases of myeloma in all age groups did not increase between 1950 and 2005…did I read that correctly, or should I make myself another cup of coffee…? Seems quite odd, no? No increase over such a long period of time?

3. what did increase was the average age at diagnosis in some 10-year periods: between 1950 and 1959 AND between 2000 and 2005, e.g., it went from 70 to 74.

4. another thing that increased was the proportion of newly diagnosed patients aged 80 years or older (from 16 to 31%). Indeed, the proportion of patients with MM aged 80 years or older doubled between 1950-1959 and 2000-2005. DOUBLED…!

My main question: how does this study fit in with the recent reports showing that increasing numbers of younger people are being diagnosed with multiple myeloma? The Conclusion did not provide a satisfactory answer…indeed, the Conclusion seemed more of a Confusion than anything else. The answer may, or may not, lie in the full study……okay, I’d better stop here before I write something really really dumb…!


  1. Ciao Margaret,
    statistics are very weird to understand, a lot needs to be considered which does not seem to be directly involved. I suppose that in 2000 it was much easier to diagnose MM in 80+ old people than it was in 1950.
    At that time I think, a lot of cases were not even diagnosed as MM. So this should also be taken into account.


  2. A statistician calculated that the average dept of the river was one meter deep. He wanted to wade across and drowned. 🙂 eh, for him 🙁

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