What is Multiple Myeloma?

Myeloma is the second most common type of blood cancer, with more than 750 000 people all over the world living with the disease.

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Myeloma is a type of cancer that attacks the bone marrow. In the bone marrow, blood cells – specifically plasma cells – are created.

When these plasma cells become malignant and start growing uncontrollably, the healthy blood cells become outnumbered. As the malignant plasma cells lump together, they form a tumor. If more than one tumor forms, it’s called multiple myeloma.

What are the symptoms of Multiple Myeloma?

The symptoms of multiple myeloma are mostly connected to the bones and the blood. For example, bone pain – especially in the back and hips – and bone weakness are two common symptoms of multiple myeloma. Easily breaking bones and getting fractures can be a sign of multiple myeloma.

Too low blood count – of either red or white blood cells – can also be a signal. Too high levels of calcium in the blood is also often linked to multiple myeloma.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms don’t automatically mean that multiple myeloma might be the cause. But it’s always good to talk with your doctor if you have any worries!

What causes Multiple Myeloma?

It’s unknown why myeloma affects certain people, but some doctors speculate that the disease could be connected to DNA changes.

DNA carries out instructions to our bodies. Parts of the DNA are in charge of determining how the cells in our bodies divide and grow. These parts are called oncogenes. If the oncogenes change for some reason, they can also change how they instruct the cells to grow and divide.

Studies show that in early stages of myeloma, certain oncogenes change in the cancerous plasma cells that cause myeloma. In some cases, the oncogenes also change after the myeloma is treated.

How can Multiple Myeloma be treated?

Multiple Myeloma is difficult to treat. There are a variety of treatments available that can make life quality better and lessen the pain.

For example, stem cell transplants into the bone marrow can ease the pain. Sometimes, it’s combined with chemotherapy, and sometimes chemotherapy is used on its own. Certain drugs can also be used for treatment.

Which treatment suits best is very personal. It also depends on how much the multiple myeloma has spread and exactly where it is located.  

Are there any clinical trials for Multiple Myeloma?

Yes. Recently, a clinical trial for Multiple Myeloma opened for registration.

Read more about it here.

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Resources

American Cancer Society

WebMD

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

 

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