Multiple Myeloma: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Multiple myeloma
  • Cancer of the plasma cell, a type of white blood cell, is called multiple myeloma. By producing antibodies that recognize and target germs, healthy plasma cells aid in infection prevention.
  • Multiple myeloma is characterized by the accumulation of cancerous plasma cells in the bone marrow, which crowd out healthy blood cells. The cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can lead to complications rather than producing helpful antibodies.
  • Multiple myeloma treatment is not always required right away. If multiple myeloma isn’t causing any signs or symptoms and is growing slowly, your doctor may recommend close monitoring rather than treatment right away. There are a number of treatments that can be used to control multiple myeloma for those who need them.

Multiple myeloma symptoms can vary, and at the beginning of the disease, there may be none at all.

Signs and Symptoms include the following:

  • Bone pain, particularly in the chest or spine.
  • Nausea.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Haze or confusion of the mind.
  • Numerous infections.
  • Weakness in your legs or numbness in them.

Myeloma has no known cause.

One abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow—the soft, blood-producing tissue that fills the middle of most bones—is where myeloma begins, according to medical professionals. The abnormal cell grows quickly.

Cancer cells accumulate and eventually outnumber healthy cells because they do not mature and then die as normal cells do. Myeloma cells crowd out healthy blood cells in the bone marrow, causing fatigue and an inability to fight infections.

Similar to healthy plasma cells, myeloma cells continue to attempt to produce antibodies; however, myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that the body cannot use. Instead, abnormal antibodies—also known as M proteins—accumulate in the body and result in issues such as kidney damage. The risk of breaking bones can also be increased by damage to the bones caused by cancer cells.

A connection to Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) Multiple myeloma almost always begins as a relatively benign condition.

Like multiple myeloma, MGUS is identified by the presence of M proteins in the blood, which is produced by abnormal plasma cells. MGUS, on the other hand, does not cause any harm to the body and has lower levels of M proteins.

Risk Factors

Some things that could make you more likely to get multiple myeloma are:

  • Advancing Age: The majority of people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma in their mid-60s, so your risk goes up as you get older.
  • Gender: Men are more likely than women to get the disease.
  • Race of Blacks: Black people are more likely than people of other races to develop multiple myeloma.
  • Multiple myeloma has a family history. You are more likely to develop multiple myeloma if you have a sibling, parent, or sibling with the disease.
  • A personal history of unspecified monoclonal gammopathy (MGUS).
  • Since MGUS is almost always the first sign of multiple myeloma, having it raises your risk.

The following are complications of Multiple Myeloma:

  • Frequent illnesses. Your body’s ability to fight infections is hampered by myeloma cells.
  • Bone issues. Your bones may also be affected by multiple myeloma, resulting in bone pain, bone thinning, and broken bones.
  • Diminished renal function. Problems with kidney function, including kidney failure, can result from multiple myeloma.
  • Anemia is a low red blood cell count. Anemia and other blood problems may also be caused by multiple myeloma due to the crowding of myeloma cells by healthy blood cells.


During a blood test for another condition, your doctor may accidentally find multiple myeloma. This can lead to the diagnosis of multiple myeloma. If your doctor suspects that you might have multiple myeloma based on your signs and symptoms, it can also be diagnosed.

The following tests and procedures are used to diagnose multiple myeloma:

  • A blood test. The M proteins that myeloma cells produce may be discovered through a blood test performed in a laboratory. Beta-2-microglobulin, another abnormal protein produced by myeloma cells, may be detected in your blood and provide your doctor with information regarding the aggressiveness of your myeloma.
  • Your kidney function, blood cell counts, calcium and uric acid levels, and other blood tests can also help your doctor determine your diagnosis.
  • Urinalysis tests When M proteins, also known as Bence Jones proteins, are found in your urine, they may be detected by analysis.
  • A look at your bone marrow. A portion of your doctor’s bone marrow may be taken for testing in the lab. A long needle is inserted into a bone to collect a sample (bone marrow aspiration and biopsy).
  • The sample is examined for myeloma cells in the laboratory. Myeloma cells can be analyzed using specialized tests like fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to find gene mutations.
  • Tests of images. For the purpose of identifying bone issues associated with multiple myeloma, imaging tests may be suggested. An X-ray, an MRI, a CT scan, or positron emission tomography (PET) are examples of tests.


Options for standard treatment include:

  • Targeted treatment: Drug treatments for cancer target specific weaknesses in the cells. Cancer cells can be killed by targeted drug treatments that block these abnormalities.
  • Immunotherapy: To combat cancer, immunotherapy works by boosting your immune system. It’s possible that your cancer won’t be attacked by your body’s immune system because cancer cells make proteins that help them hide from the immune system. Immunotherapy functions by disrupting that process.
  • Chemotherapy: A chemotherapy treatment that kills cancer cells. Myeloma cells are among the cells that drugs kill quickly. Prior to a bone marrow transplant, high doses of chemotherapy drugs are administered.
  • Corticosteroids: In order to control body inflammation, corticosteroid medications control the immune system. Additionally, they combat myeloma cells.
  • Transplant of bone marrow: A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, is a procedure in which healthy bone marrow is transplanted into a patient with a disease.
  • Therapy with radiation: High-powered energy beams from sources like X-rays and protons are used in radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. When a group of abnormal plasma cells forms a tumor (plasmacytoma) that is causing pain or destroying a bone, it can be used to rapidly shrink myeloma cells in a specific area.
  • Blood-forming stem cells are taken from your blood prior to a bone marrow transplant. The diseased bone marrow is then destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy. After that, your stem cells are introduced into your body, where they make their way to your bones, where they get started rebuilding your bone marrow.

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