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What is Multiple Myeloma?

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Understanding Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is defined as cancer of the plasma cells. Your bone marrow consists of plasma cells and is an essential component of your immune system. Plasma cells make antibodies that help your body attack germs that can cause infections. Read on to learn more about your risk of developing multiple myeloma as well as the common symptoms.

How Does Multiple Myeloma Form?

Though the causes of multiple myeloma are unknown, it forms when cancer cells grow in the bone marrow and overcrowd the healthy blood cells. This leads to the production of abnormal proteins.

There are various treatments for multiple myeloma, which include, but are not limited to, a bone marrow transplant or radiation therapy. When it comes to diagnosis and treatment of multiple myeloma, a doctor will conduct a full examination and testing to determine the best treatment option that is relevant to that patient’s case.

Signs and Symptoms

Some of the common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma may include:

  • Bone pain, particularly in the spine or chest
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling confused or “foggy”
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections/ illness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Numbness or weakness in the legs
  • Constant thirst

Risk Factors

The following are common risk factors of multiple myeloma:

  • Age - People 65 and over are more at risk.
  • Gender - Men have a slightly higher risk of developing multiple myeloma than women.
  • Race - The reasons are unknown, but African Americans are at a higher risk.
  • Family history - People who have a parent or sibling with multiple myeloma are more at risk than someone who does not have a family history.
  • Being overweight/obese.
  • Having other plasma cell diseases, such as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or solitary plasmacytoma.

Can Multiple Myeloma be Prevented?

When it comes to multiple myeloma, some of the leading risk factors mentioned above are uncontrollable, such as your race and age. However, keeping a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise, along with having regular conversations with your doctor about any new symptoms you are experiencing can help with early detection.

Contact Parrish Cancer Center

When it comes to cancer care, our caring oncologists at the Parrish Cancer Center are here to guide you every step of the way. From screening to treatments, contact us today at 321-529-6202 to learn about how we can help you or your loved one who is concerned about living with multiple myeloma.