Multiple Myeloma: Understanding This Blood Cancer

    Multiple Myeloma: Understanding This Blood Cancer

    Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a cancer of the plasma cells, which produce antibodies that defend us against infection. In myeloma, the cells grow out of control and push out healthy bone marrow cells that produce red blood cells, platelets, and other white blood cells.

    What Happens If You Have Myeloma?

    Multiple myeloma is cancer that develops in a type of white blood cell known as a plasma cell. Healthy plasma cells help you fight infections by producing antibodies that recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells.

    The most prevalent kind of plasma cell cancer is multiple myeloma, which is produced mostly in the bone marrow and bones. Myeloma cells can develop tumors, termed plasmacytomas, in various bones throughout the body.

    In myeloma, the cells grow too much, crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow that make red blood cells, platelets, and other white blood cells. In addition, myeloma cells stimulate the osteoclasts to break down bone at a much faster rate than normal.

    When the bones are weak or damaged, two types of bone cells—osteoblasts, which make bone, and osteoclasts, which break it down—do not work together as they usually do.

    Mutiple myeloma is typically diagnosed through lab work after a suspicion.

    Who is at Risk?

    Myeloma is more common in men than in women and affects black people more frequently than white people. It is also twice as common in Black populations as it is in Caucasian and Asia populations.

    Men over 60 are at risk, with most cases diagnosed at 70. The cases affecting people under 40 years old are rare.

    Being overweight and having a family history of the disease are also risk factors. Scientists do not fully understand why some people develop myeloma. Also, those with a family history of multiple myeloma are more likely to develop the disease.

    FAQ

    Is leukemia and myeloma the same?

    Leukemia and multiple myeloma are both different blood cancers. However, multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects plasma cells, a specific type of white blood cell.

    How long can myeloma go undiscovered?

    If you have smoldering multiple myeloma, you won’t experience any symptoms. But tests will reveal that at least 10% to 59% of your bone marrow is composed of malignant plasma cells. Some people have multiple myeloma for months or years before they even realize they are unwell.

    How quickly does multiple myeloma develop?

    While the rate of progression of multiple myeloma can vary from person to person, an older study from 2007 that included 276 individuals discovered that there was a 10% probability of progression in those with early multiple myeloma per year for the first 5 years of illness.

    Is it possible to treat myeloma?

    Multiple myeloma treatment frequently helps manage symptoms and enhance quality of life. But myeloma is typically incurable, necessitating extra care when the illness recurs.

    How dangerous is cancer from myeloma?

    Myeloma is a condition that alternates between periods of remission (when cancer cells are no longer found or are at a low level) and relapse. It is not typically thought of as a curable condition, yet it is very treatable (when cancer cells have returned or increased),

    Reminders

    Consult your doctor for any concerns regarding multiple myeloma. They are in the best position to assess, diagnose, and treat your condition. They will also propose the best treatment plan for you.

    Learn more about Other Cancers here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel Updated Oct 04Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD