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Multiple Myeloma

Definition of Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer That starts in plasma cells, white blood cell types. To understand multiple myeloma, it is helpful to know about normal blood cells. In normal blood cells, most of the blood cells develop from cells in the bone marrow stem cells Called. Bone marrow is the soft material in the middle of most bones

Alternative Names

Plasma cell dyscrasia; Plasma cell myeloma; Malignant plasmacytoma; Plasmacytoma of bone; Myeloma - multiple

Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

Symptoms of multiple myeloma depend on how advanced the disease has become. In the earliest stages, a person may not have any symptoms.

When symptoms do occur, patients commonly experience:

Multiple Myeloma
  • Bone pain (often in the back or ribs)
  • Broken bones
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Repeated infections

When the disease is advanced, symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Problems with urination
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs

These are not sure signs of multiple myeloma, however — they can be caused by other medical problems. If you experience these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible. Only a health professional can determine what is causing a patient's symptoms.

Causes, and risk factors of Multiple Myeloma

Till now the actual real causes of Multiple myeloma is unknown but letís see how the disease progresses and risk factors associated with it.

Multiple myeloma starts when the genetic material (DNA) structure is damaged or altered during the development of a stem cell into a B-cell in the bone marrow. DNA consists of all the cell related information such as when to divide, grow, die, etc. When these instructions get altered, uncontrolled reproduction of cells may occur. Such uncontrolled mutation leads to multiple production of plasma cells in the Bone marrow. Interleukin-6 is a key growth and survival factor for myeloma cells that promotes uncontrolled reproduction of myeloma cells and forms tumors in the bone marrow. Generally in normal persons there is less than 5% plasma cells in bone marrow but in patients suffering from Multiple myeloma there is 10% plasma cells in Bone marrow.

When plasma cells grows excessively the body starts losing its ability to to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This in turn leads to anemia and makes the person more prone to infection and causes frequent bleeding.

Pain and destruction of bones occur as the cancer cells starts growing more and more. When the spine bone gets affected more pressure is put on nerves, resulting in numbness or paralysis.

Multiple myeloma is more common among older adults (Above 65). People who have history of radiation therapy have more risk for this type of cancer. Many patients suffering from Multiple myeloma are overweight and doctors say that obese persons have more risk for this type of cancer.

Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

Options for Multiple Myeloma cancer treatment depend on how much the cancer has affected the general health of the person, kidney function, and various organ systems of the body. The goal of multiple myeloma cancer treatment is to control the disease for as long as possible, and to provide comfort for the person.

Many cancer patients want to learn all they can about their disease and their treatment choices so that they can take an active part in decisions about their care. They are likely to have many questions and concerns about their cancer treatment options. Most patients want to know how they will function during and after treatment and whether they will have to change their normal activities. The doctor is the best person to answer a patient's questions, such as what their cancer treatment choices are, how successful it is expected to be and what the risks and side effects may be.

Types of Multiple Myeloma Cancer Treatment

Treatment for multiple myeloma is systemic. Systemic treatments destroy or control cancer cells throughout the entire body. Chemotherapy is a systemic cancer treatment, and is almost always used to treat people with multiple myeloma. Bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants, also systemic treatments, may also be used to treat multiple myeloma. Sometimes local treatments can also be used to relieve symptoms of the disease.

Local treatments, such as radiation therapy, control or kill the cancer cells in a certain area. Radiation is often given to people with multiple myeloma in order to control bone pain or to prevent fractures in bones weakened by the cancer.

Complications of Multiple Myeloma

Kidney failure is a frequent complication. Other complications may include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Increased chances for infection (especially pneumonia)
  • Paralysis from tumor or spinal cord compression

Prevention of Multiple Myeloma

It may be possible to prevent multiple myeloma by avoiding

  • radiation
  • the toxic chemical benzene
  • pesticides

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