Uncontrolled multiplication of abnormal plasma cells in bone marrow is called multiple myeloma. This cancer lowers the plasma’s ability to produce proteins that help fight off infections. Read on to understand more about the types, symptoms, and treatments of multiple myeloma.
Categories Of Multiple Myeloma
Depending on their effect on the body, two types exist.
- Indolent Myeloma – This type of cancer does not show any noticeable symptoms and does not form bone tumors.
- Solitary Plasmacytoma – This type of cancer shows bone tumors and requires intensive monitoring.
Symptoms Of Multiple Myeloma
Symptoms generally develop as the myeloma progresses, with a majority of patients showing at least one of these four symptoms:
- High levels of calcium in the blood that causes nausea, upset stomach, and extreme thirst.
- Renal failure due to high levels of abnormal M protein in the bone marrow.
- Insufficient oxygen-carrying red blood cells cause a condition called anemia.
- Bone damage in the form of lesions causing bone pain in various parts of the body.
Other symptoms could include problems relating to vision, unintentional weight loss, and problems urinating.
Routine physical exams, urine, and blood tests can help detect Multiple myeloma. Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI scans, can help detect bone damage and lesions.
Stages Of Multiple Myeloma
There are three stages of myeloma, with stage one being the least severe. Typically this cancer is staged by checking levels of calcium and protein in the blood and through blood cell counts.
Treatments for multiple myeloma include managing the pain, slowing the progression of the disease, and reducing complications. The treatment options include:
- Biological Therapy: A form of treatment to strengthen the body’s immune system to fight off the cancerous cells.
- Targeted Therapy: This treatment uses medications to kill off cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: Using aggressive drugs to eliminate mutated cells.
- Corticosteroids: These chemicals help reduce inflammation and destroy myeloma cells.
- Radiation Therapy: Radiation is used to attack and arrest the growth of myeloma cells.
The outlook for people diagnosed with multiple myeloma can depend on several factors, including your overall health and age. As multiple myeloma has no cure, your doctor will suggest the best form of treatment to help enhance your quality of life.