Multiple Myeloma - Blood Cancer
Posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Did You Know? Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer
At Diagnosis of Myeloma about 70% of Patients Experience Pain in the Back or Ribs
Myeloma is Two Times More Common in People of African Decent and the Disease is More Common in Men and the Elderly
Multiple Myeloma (MM), also known as Kahler’s disease, is a rare blood cancer. With no cure and no direct cause, it is currently not possible to predict who may suffer from multiple myeloma.
Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of myeloma causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Like all cancers, MM is a result of mutated cells within the blood. Malignant plasma cells accumulate in bone marrow, multiply and spread to cause damage throughout the body. Some triggers of MM are:
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Exposure to atomic radiation
- Infection with cancer causing viruses
- Family tendency for myeloma
- Immune system suppression
Early onset of myeloma may not cause any symptoms however, with time, bone pain, weakness, fatigue and weight loss may develop. Pain with movement and/or at night/rest, and pain tenderness/swelling of bone areas are common symptoms. Swelling, shortness of breath or evidence of heart or kidney failure could be signs of late stages of the disease.
While several tests must be conducted to rule out other conditions, your provider may test for MM if your blood test reveals:
- Too much calcium in your blood
- Kidney problems
- High protein levels, combined with a low albumin level
If your provider believes you may have myeloma the following tests may be ordered:
- Electrophoresis, which measures immunoglobulins
- Blood urea nitrogen or BUN test
- Creatinine measure, to check kidney function
- A complete blood count or CBC, which measures and counts the cells in your blood
The most effective treatment for MM is stem cell transplantation (SCT). In SCT some stem cells are removed by a machine, frozen and stored; also donor cells may be used. . After extraction a high-dose chemotherapy regimen may be needed. The chemotherapy will destroy almost all of the cells in the bone marrow; both healthy and bad plasma cells will be eliminated. After chemotherapy, the harvested stem cells are injected; they will travel to the bone marrow, and multiply.
While chemotherapy alone does not work as effectively as with SCT, patients who may be at higher risk for complications, it may be the best option. Providers typically combine chemotherapy with other drugs to help combat the disease and reduce side effects. Treatment can be a complex process that can be difficult on the body, keeping a healthy lifestyle may help with recovery.
For more information on multiple myeloma and other oncologic conditions, please visit: http://www.cancer.org