Cancer, multiple myeloma

Other names: Multiple myeloma

DEFINITION

Multiple myeloma is a Cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. Multiple myeloma causes Cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Treatment for Multiple myeloma isn't always necessary.

SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms of Multiple myeloma can vary and may include bone pain, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, mental fogginess, fatigue, frequent infections, weight loss, weakness or numbness in legs, and excessive thirst.

CAUSES

The exact cause of myeloma is unknown but it starts with one abnormal plasma cell in the bone marrow that multiplies rapidly. Myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that can lead to kidney problems.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for Multiple myeloma include increasing age, male sex, black race, and a history of Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of Multiple myeloma include frequent infections, bone problems, reduced kidney function, and low red blood cell count (Anemia).

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before your appointment with the doctor, note down your symptoms, list other medical conditions, medications you are taking, take a family member or friend along for support, and prepare questions to ask your doctor.

QUESTIONS

  1. What are some symptoms of multiple myeloma?

Symptoms may include bone pain, nausea, fatigue, weight loss, and weakness in legs.

  1. What are the risk factors for developing multiple myeloma?

Risk factors include increasing age, male sex, black race, and a history of MGUS.

  1. How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves blood tests for M proteins and beta-2-microglobulin levels, urine tests for Bence Jones proteins, bone marrow examination, and imaging tests.

  1. What are some complications of multiple myeloma?

Complications can include frequent infections, bone problems, kidney issues, and Anemia.

  1. What treatments are available for multiple myeloma?

Treatments may include targeted therapy, biological therapy, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, stem cell transplantation, and radiation therapy.

  1. Can alternative medicine treat multiple myeloma?

No alternative medicines have been found to treat multiple myeloma directly.

  1. How can one cope with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma?

Coping strategies may include learning about the condition, maintaining a strong support system, setting reasonable goals, and taking time for oneself.

  1. What is the connection between MGUS and multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma often starts as MGUS; about 1% of people with MGUS develop multiple myeloma each year.

  1. Who is more at risk for developing multiple myeloma?

Individuals of increasing age, male sex, black race or with a history of MGUS are at higher risk.

  1. What are some possible complications of multiple myeloma?

Complications can include frequent infections due to inhibited immune response by Cancer cells.