Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms inside of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell. The plasma cells help create antibodies to fight off an infection.
Multiple Myeloma Causes
Scientists have not been able to find the exact cause of multiple myeloma. However, they have found that changes in the DNA can cause plasma cells to become cancerous. There are also some risk factors that put people at risk for multiple myeloma. Some of these risk factors include increasing age and being male. This condition is also more common in African-Americans. Furthermore, multiple myeloma has a tendency to run in families.
Additionally, some people have a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS. This is a benign condition that causes a person to develop M proteins inside of the blood. M proteins are created by abnormal plasma cells. It is estimated that one percent of people with this condition will develop multiple myeloma.
Multiple Myeloma Symptoms & Signs
There are a number of symptoms that a person may develop if he or she has myeloma. Some of those symptoms include bone pain, weight loss, frequent urination and frequent infections. Some patients may also break bones due to this condition.
Multiple Myeloma Treatments
Patients may not require treatment in the early multiple myeloma stages if they are not having any symptoms. However, physicians will need to monitor the patient regularly in order to determine whether the condition is getting worse. They may also order regular urine and blood tests.
Corticosteroids are multiple myeloma medications that are often recommended. They help reduce inflammation in the body. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or administered intravenously.
Stem cell transplant is another option for treating this condition. This involves taking out the diseased bone marrow and replacing it with healthy bone marrow. There are multiple steps involved in this procedure. The physician must first collect stem cells. After that, the person will have to undergo chemotherapy. The person will then be infused with stem cells, which build up new bone marrow.
It is important to note that not everyone will be a good candidate for a stem cell transplant. Your overall health, age and how the disease is progressing will determine whether you are a good candidate for a stem cell transplant. Other treatment options include radiation therapy and targeted therapy.