Multiple Myeloma

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell present in bone marrow, the blood-producing tissue that fills in the center point of most of the bones. The precise cause of multiple myeloma is not known.

Plasma makes less than 5 per cent of the cells in the bone marrow. However, if you have many multiple myeloma a group of abnormal plasma cells multiplies, increasing the per cent of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Multiple Myeloma can interfere with the function of your bone marrow and entire immune system. Multiple Myeloma can also lead to some problems with your kidneys.

The disease is referred to as Multiple Myeloma because they can occur in multiple bone marrow within your body.

Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma?

The symptoms of disease may vary from person to person and one of the most common symptoms of multiple myeloma is bone pain. Another common symptom of multiple myeloma is the presence of high level of calcium in your blood. As a result you may experience the following:

  • Excessive thirst and urination
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mental confusion
  • Bone pain, particularly in your back or ribs
  • Unexplained bone fractures
  • Repeated infections — such as pneumonia, bladder or kidney infection, or sinusitis
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or numbness in your legs

How is Multiple Myeloma Diagnosed?

The doctor will examine you for the possible multiple myeloma and then he will take the sample of blood and urine.

A blood test called serum protein electrophoresis separates your blood proteins and can detect the presence of M proteins in the blood. If your doctor discovers M proteins, you will likely need additional blood tests to measure blood cell counts and levels of calcium; uric acid and creatinine. The doctor will also measure the percentage of plasma cells in your bone marrow.

The other possible tests that may include are: Imaging and Bone marrow examination.

Treatments of Multiple Myeloma?

The treatment for multiple myeloma depends upon many factors such as the level of M protein in your blood or urine and also the general health of the person. However, the common treatment procedure may include the following:

Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for any disease. It involves using medicines that may taken orally as a pill or given through an intravenous (IV) injection to destroy myeloma cells. You may need chemotherapy again if your M protein level begins to increase.

Stem cell transplantation – This treatment involves using high-dose chemotherapy along with transfusion of previously collected immature blood cells to replace diseased or damaged marrow. The stem cells can come from you or from a donor, and they may be from either blood or bone marrow.

Radiation therapy – This treatment uses high-energy penetrating waves to damage myeloma cells and stop their growth. Radiation therapy may be used to target myeloma cells in a specific area causing to shrink a tumor that’s causing pain or destroying a bone.