Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. These abnormal plasma cells make antibodies that attack your body’s normal tissues and organs. Multiple myeloma affects a person’s blood cells, bones, kidneys and other tissues.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow:
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce antibodies to fight infection. Multiple myeloma can also be called multiple myeloma or plasma cell myeloma.
The abnormal growth of these abnormal plasma cells produces proteins that are too large to be filtered out by kidneys and pass into urine instead of being excreted through bile ducts as they should be. This causes high levels of protein in urine (proteinuria), which is often detected during routine bloodwork done when you visit your doctor for other reasons such as a physical exam or dental checkup. Some studies suggest that it can also cause insulin resistance but it’s not confirmed yet!
Myeloma can affect any bone in the body, but most often it affects the spine or pelvis (hip). The exact cause of multiple myeloma isn’t known, but researchers think it may be related to an abnormal gene that causes your body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue rather than foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses.
Multiple myeloma occurs when there are too many abnormal plasma cells in your bone marrow–the soft tissue inside bones where new blood cells are made–and these abnormal cells crowd out normal ones needed for good health. As these abnormal plasma cells grow out of control, they damage bones throughout their growing process until eventually they become painful lumps called osteolytic lesions on x-rays taken during treatment or at follow-up visits after treatment has ended; these osteolytic lesions often lead to fractures over time if left untreated because they weaken underlying bone structure underneath them causing fractures when stressed enough under stress due to everyday activities such as walking around while standing up straight bending over lifting heavy objects etc…
You may feel tired and have a low-grade fever:
You may feel tired, have a low-grade fever and experience weight loss. Other symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain and anemia (a lack of red blood cells). You may also have trouble sleeping, feel weak and have muscle aches and pains. You also may need multivitamins which you can buy from any pharmacy or online supplement store!
The only way to confirm multiple myeloma is to perform a biopsy:
The only way to confirm multiple myeloma is to perform a biopsy, which is the removal of tissue from the body for examination under a microscope.
Biopsy can be done in many different ways depending on where the cancer cells are located. For example, if you have a tumor that’s visible on an X-ray or CT scan (a bone marrow biopsy), or if your doctor suspects they might be present in some other part of your body (an aspirate).
There are several tests used to diagnose multiple myeloma:
There are several tests used to diagnose multiple myeloma. The most common is a bone marrow biopsy, which is a procedure in which a sample of bone marrow is removed from your hipbone and sent to a lab for testing. In addition to looking at the cells under a microscope, doctors also test them for markers associated with myeloma such as the protein plasma cell protein (PACP) or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).
If you have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, your doctor may recommend additional tests including:
- Physical exam: A physical examination by your doctor may reveal swollen lymph nodes, bone pain (from bone lesions) or anemia (low red blood cell count).
- Blood tests: To measure levels of antibodies that help fight infections and abnormal cells in blood; also checks immune function and kidney function
- CT scan or MRI scans: Used to detect tumors in bones or other organs like the liver or spleen
Surgery or other procedures may be used for a diagnostic biopsy:
If you’re diagnosed with multiple myeloma, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic biopsy. This is a procedure that involves removing tissue from your body so it can be studied under a microscope. The goal of this type of biopsy is to determine if you have multiple myeloma and how far it has progressed.
You’ll likely be given general anesthesia, which means you’ll be asleep during the procedure. Your doctor will insert one or more needles into different parts of your body where they can remove samples of bone marrow (the soft inner part) or plasma cells (a type of white blood cell). The most common places for these procedures are:
- The backside (posterior) part of the hipbone
- Underneath both arms near where they meet at the chest area
- In between two vertebrae at the base of neck near shoulder blades
Many treatments are available for multiple myeloma:
The goal of treatment is to slow disease progression and reduce symptoms. There are many treatments available that can help people with multiple myeloma live longer and have better quality of life. Drugs that suppress the immune system may be used to control the cancer, but these drugs also increase your risk for infections and other health problems. Other drugs target cancer cells directly, but they often have serious side effects such as nausea or hair loss (anemia).
Bone marrow transplantation may be an option for some people with multiple myeloma who have had a relapse after receiving high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell rescue (ASCR) or immunomodulatory drugs like thalidomide or lenalidomide followed by bortezomib maintenance therapy; however, this procedure is complex and risky because it requires finding compatible donors who are willing to donate bone marrow stem cells through an invasive surgery called pan-hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (PHSCT).
Some people may treat their multiple myeloma with drugs:
Some people may be able to treat their multiple myeloma with drugs that suppress the immune system. These drugs are called immunomodulatory drugs, and they can help slow down the progression of multiple myeloma in some people. In addition, these medications may also help some people achieve remission–a period where there is no evidence of cancer in your body (for example, no new bone lesions). However, it’s important to know that these medications are not a cure for multiple myeloma; if you stop taking them or if they lose effectiveness over time, your cancer will likely return.
Some common examples of immunomodulatory medicines include:
- thalidomide (brand name Thalomid)
- lenalidomide (brand name Revlimid)
Managing Symptoms, Side Effects and Complications of Treatment:
You may experience a variety of symptoms and side effects during treatment. Your doctor will work with you to manage these issues as best they can.
When talking to your doctor about symptoms and side effects, be sure to:
- Give the exact time when the symptom or side effect started (for example, “I’ve been having trouble sleeping since last night”).
- Tell them what makes it better or worse (for example, “When I lay down in bed at night”).
- Describe how long the problem lasts (for example, “It goes away after 20 minutes”). Your doctor will use this information to determine whether there’s anything they can do for you right away or if they need additional tests before providing treatment options that might help relieve your discomfort over time.
Other drugs are given to slow disease progression or create remission:
In addition to surgery and radiation, other drugs are given to slow disease progression or create remission in some people with this type of cancer. The most commonly used drugs for multiple myeloma are:
- Lenalidomide (marketed as Revlimid) and dexamethasone (marketed as Sandostatin LAR) – These medications may be taken alone or in combination with bortezomib (marketed as Velcade). They work by blocking a protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), which helps fight inflammation but also helps cancer cells grow. This treatment can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; however, they often go away after you’ve been taking the medication for a while.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. The only way to confirm it is by performing a biopsy. You may feel tired and have a low-grade fever during treatment, but there are many treatments available that can help people with multiple myeloma live longer and have better quality of life.