Multiple myeloma is
Plasma cells help your body fight infection by producing proteins called antibodies. With multiple myeloma, plasma cells grow out of control in the bone marrow and form tumors in the areas of solid bone. The growth of these bone tumors weakens the solid bones and also makes it harder for the bone marrow to make healthy blood cells and platelets
Plasma cell dyscrasia; Plasma cell myeloma; Malignant plasmacytoma; Plasmacytoma of bone; Myeloma – multiple
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The exact cause of multiple myeloma is not clear. Past treatment with radiation therapy raises the risk of this type of cancer. Multiple myeloma mainly affects older adults.
Multiple myeloma most commonly causes a low red blood cell count (
As the cancer cells grow in the bone marrow, you may have
If cancer grows in the spine bones, pressure on the nerves may result. This can lead to
Signs and tests
Blood tests can help diagnose this disease. These tests include:
- Albumin level
- Calcium level
- Total protein level
- Kidney function blood tests
Complete blood count (CBC)
Blood and urine tests to check to identify proteins, or antibodies (
Blood tests to quickly and accurately measure the specific level of certain proteins called immunoglobulins (
This list is not all-inclusive.
Bone density testing may show bone loss.
People who have mild disease or in whom the diagnosis is not certain are often not treated. Instead they are closely watched. Some people have a slow-developing form of multiple myeloma (smoldering myeloma) that takes years to cause symptoms.
Two types of
- Autologous bone marrow or stem cell transplantation is done using the person’s own stem cells.
- Allogeneic transplant uses of someone else’s stem cells. This treatment has serious risks but may offer the chance of long-term cure.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.
Survival of multiple myeloma depends on the patient’s age and the stage of disease. In some cases, the disease progresses very rapidly. In other cases, it takes years to worsen.
Chemotherapy and transplants rarely lead to a permanent cure.
- Bone fractures
- High levels of calcium in the blood, which can be very dangerous
- Increased chances for infection, especially in the lungs
- Weakness or loss of movement due to tumor pressing on spinal cord
Calling your health care provider
Call your doctor if you have multiple myeloma and you develop an infection, or numbness, loss of movement, or loss of sensation.
Related:Bone marrow transplant – discharge, Cancer, Platelet count, Anemia, Numbness and tingling, Muscle function loss, Acute kidney failure, Pneumonia – adults (community acquired), Spinal cord trauma, Bone marrow transplant