Cancer Care

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. Multiple myeloma can weaken your bones, immune system, and kidneys, and lower your red blood cell and platelet counts.  

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer that affects plasma cells. Plasma cells are a white blood cell inside a person’s bones (known as the bone marrow). Multiple myeloma can affect teens and adults, with most patients over 40 years old.

The longer someone has multiple myeloma, the more complications and poor health outcomes may result, including:

  • Lower number of blood cells: This is because the cancerous plasma cells take up more room in the bone marrow, not leaving enough room for red blood cells or platelets to be made.
  • Lower bone mass: The cancerous cells block the cells that build up bones.
  • More infections: Immune cells are not performing their normal functions and are growing out of control.  

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What are symptoms of multiple myeloma?

  • Nausea

  • Weight loss

  • Many infections

  • Extreme thirst

  • Fatigue

  • Bone pains in chest or spine

  • Weakness or loss of feeling in legs

Diagnosing multiple myeloma

  • Blood tests

  • Urine tests

  • Plain x-rays of bones Antibody testing

  • Bone marrow testing

Treating multiple myeloma

Treatment may include any of the following methods:

  • Drug therapy

  • Corticosteroids

  • Radiation therapy

  • Stem cell transplant