Multiple myeloma develops from plasma cells and usually originates in bone marrow. Plasma cells help to create antibodies which aid in neutralizing toxins in the body. Multiple myeloma causes plasma cells to become cancerous and grow uncontrollably. This can cause tumors to form in patient’s bones and affect other organs such as the kidneys. As these malignant plasma cells continue to generate, bone structure is weakened.
A doctor may detect multiple myeloma when examining routine blood tests. Additionally, he/she could suspect multiple myeloma if a patient describes symptoms matching those caused by active multiple myeloma.
A blood test will reveal the amount of M-protein, an abnormal protein produced by myeloma cells, in the bloodstream. Beta-2-microglobulin, which is another protein produced by myeloma cells, may be measured to determine how aggressively the cancer is developing.
Similar to the blood test, a urinalysis may be performed to get a measure of the amount of M-proteins being produced.
Based on the results of the blood and/or urine test, the physician may want to confirm a diagnosis with a biopsy. During this procedure, a sample of bone marrow will be extracted. The sample will be sent to a lab where a pathologist will examine for the presence of myeloma cells. The pathologist may also be able to determine the rate at which the myeloma cells are growing.
An imaging test such as an X-ray or an MRI may be performed to determine if there has been any bone loss or bone weakening as a result of multiple myeloma.
The team of cancer experts at CareMount Medical have been extensively trained to diagnose and treat multiple myeloma and its complications.
In healthy bone marrow, B-cells develop into plasma cells which help fight toxins that enter the body. When DNA is damaged, the plasma cells transform into a multiple myeloma cell. The cancerous cell multiplies which leaves less space for normal blood cells and produces large quantities of M protein, which can cause some of the other complications of myeloma.
|Types of Multiple Myeloma||Symptoms||Description|
|Smouldering||The patient does not exhibit any symptoms||Plasma cells make up 10 percent or more of the blood cells in the bone marrow, or M-protein levels in the blood are 3 g/dL or more.|
|Active||Bone pain, anemia, kidney failure, high blood calcium, weakened areas of bone||Plasma cells make up 60 percent of cells in bone marrow.|
The suggested treatment options for multiple myeloma will depend on the type, and your overall health. However, the most common treatment options include:
To schedule an appointment or obtain a second opinion on your diagnosis, please call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292.