Multiple Myeloma

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells that leads to increased production. It is the most common primary bone malignancy in adults.

Who is at increased risk for Multiple Myeloma?

The elderly, African Americans, and males are all at increased risk for multiple myeloma.

What are the signs and symptoms of Multiple Myeloma?

The acronym BREAK is often used to describe the clinical manifestations of multiple myeloma 

  • Bone pain is the most common symptom, specifically in the vertebrae and the ribs. 
  • Recurrent infections, this is due to too many white blood cells and an increase in viscosity of the blood making fighting infections difficult. 
  • Elevated calcium, bone breakdown leads to an increased level of calcium in the blood.
  • Anemia, symptoms of anemia include, fatigue, pallor, weakness, weight loss and an enlarged liver or spleen
  • Kidney injury, waste is deposited in the kidneys causing a decrease in function

How is Multiple Myeloma diagnosed?

A simple blood test called a CBC will show a rouleaux formation or an abnormal stacking of red blood cells. A skull X-ray will show punched-out lytic lesions. Analyzing urine will show a specific type of protein called Bence-Jones proteins. The most definitive way to diagnoses multiple myeloma is by taking some bone marrow and analyzing it. There will be a dramatic increase in plasma cells, a condition called plasmacytosis. 

How is Multiple Myeloma treated?

Chemotherapy usually controls symptoms temporarily. The most effective treatment is an autologous stem cell transplant. 

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