Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer of the bone marrow. It results from the abnormal growth of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies. As these abnormal or malignant plasma cells multiply, they produce large quantities of abnormal antibodies. These abnormal antibodies collect in the blood and urine. As the plasma cell tumor grows, it also destroys the bone around it. These events lead to bone pain, kidney damage, and a weak immune system. Cancer occurs when cells in the body (in this case plasma cells) divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor does not invade or spread.

  • Causes

    The cause of multiple myeloma is not known.

  • Definition

    Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer of the bone marrow. It results from the abnormal growth of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells normally produce antibodies. As these abnormal or malignant plasma cells multiply, they produce large quantities of abnormal antibodies. These abnormal antibodies collect in the blood and urine. As the plasma cell tumor grows, it also destroys the bone around it. These events lead to bone pain, kidney damage, and a weak immune system.

    Cancer occurs when cells in the body (in this case plasma cells) divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to
    malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. A
    benign tumor
    does not invade or spread.

    Bone Marrow in Adult
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Your doctor may need pictures of your bones. This can be done with:

    • X-rays
    • MRI scan
    • CT scan
    • Positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan (PET/CT scan)

    Your doctor may order tests of your body fluids and tissues. This can be done with:

    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests

    • Bone marrow aspiration or
      biopsy

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines to prevent multiple myeloma. The cause is not known.

  • Risk Factors

    Risk factors that increase your chance of getting multiple myeloma include:

    • Age: 50 or older
    • Race: black

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of early stage multiple myeloma include:

    • Persistent bone pain, often severe. It is most common in the back but also in the limbs or ribs.
    • Fatigue

    When the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Weakness
    • Broken bones
    • Repeat infections
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Constipation
    • Difficulty urinating
    • Abnormal bleeding
    • Headache
    • Visual problems
    • Confusion

  • Treatment

    After cancer is found, staging tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread. Treatment is sometimes able to slow the progress of multiple myeloma. Complete remission is rare. Treatment is also important to control symptoms. Treatment depends on your symptoms and the stage of your cancer. Options include: