Multiple Myeloma cancer is caused due to malignant plasma cells. When these cells grow abnormally, they overpower the healthy blood cells and cause a cancerous growth in the bone marrow.
What is Multiple Myeloma cancer?
Plasma cells are a type of white blood cells which produce proteins. These proteins also called antibodies or immunoglobulin that help in fighting infections. The excess build up of proteins deluges the bone marrow which prevents the healthy cells from working. This causes pain in the bone and sometimes fractures too! They cause calcium of the bones to move into the blood which causes further complications. Patients with multiple myeloma cancer are at a larger risk of infections and have a fewer count of platelets which is required for clotting. When the cancerous growth enters the bloodstream, it can damage organs like kidneys.
Who can contract this disease?
It afflicts more of older men than women in the age bracket of 65 years and above. It has not been seen in people younger than 35 years. Science has not been able to explain the reason behind it.
What are the factors that increase the chances of Multiple Myeloma cancer?
There are certain factors that increase the chances of a person getting the disease. However, these factors raise the risk slightly and experts are not yet sure about the probability of risk:
- Older age
- Family History
- Exposure to radiation and chemicals
What are the sign and symptoms?
If a person has one or more of these symptoms, one should consult with their healthcare provider. These may or may not indicate towards multiple myeloma:
- Pain in bones usually in ribs or back
- Easily fractured bones
- Tiredness and fatigue at all times
- More prone to infections
- Abnormal weight loss
- Excess thirst and need to urinate often
How is the diagnosis carried out?
The health provider will ascertain the patients’ family history, the extent of symptoms, and general health. The following tests are carried out to make an informed decision:
Blood Test, Urine Test, X-Ray, CT scan, MRI, PET scan, Biopsy and Bone Marrow Aspiration.
How is Multiple Myeloma Cancer treated?
Treatment is generally started if the disease shows any sign of progress. In the very early stages, health care providers keep a watch on the health of the patient. Treatment includes controlling the cancerous growth of cells for which chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and medicines are used. New treatment for multiple Myeloma includes stem cell transplants. The treatments will not cure Multiple Myeloma, but it will help the patient live a longer and more fulfilling life.