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What is Multiple Myeloma?

By on June 30, 2012 in Diseases with 0 Comments


What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that develops in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the tissue lying in the interior of bones, where it creates new blood cells. Multiple myeloma occurs when the body makes too much of a particular blood cell, called a plasma cell. When this happens, the abnormal plasma cells clump together and form tumors. These cells destroy the surrounding bone and prevent the creation of other blood cells the body needs.

What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma?

Symptoms of multiple myeloma include:

  • Bone pain, especially in the back, ribs and hip.
  • Frequent bone fractures.
  • Constipation and/or increased urination.
  • Weakness and fatigue.
  • Feelings of confusion.

What is the cause of multiple myeloma?

Currently, there is no known cause of multiple myeloma. This cancer usually occurs in people over 60 years. It is slightly more common among men than among women. Often, it may be hereditary. Multiple myeloma is also more common in blacks than in whites. Some studies suggest that farmers and petroleum-based industries may be at increased risk due to exposure to chemicals.

How is Multiple Myeloma treated?

Currently, there is no cure for multiple myeloma. Treatment includes medication to relieve pain and chemotherapy to destroy abnormal cells and to delay the development of the disease. You also need treatment if you have bone fractures, low blood count, infection or kidney damage. Even with treatment, sometimes the symptoms get better and sometimes worse. The drugs most often used in combination to treat multiple myeloma are melphalan (a chemotherapy drug) and prednisone (a corticosteroid drug).

If you have multiple myeloma, you should try to be active. Being active helps keep calcium in the bones rather than keeping it in the blood, which helps keep bones strong. You should also follow a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids.

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