Guide Multiple Myeloma: Diagnosis and Treatment

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The sooner you receive a diagnosis and start treatment, the better your outlook. The Durie-Salmon system is discussed in this article. The stages of multiple myeloma also take into account whether or not the cancer is causing problems with your bones or kidneys. High levels of blood calcium can indicate advanced bone damage. Low levels of hemoglobin and high levels of monoclonal immunoglobin indicate more advanced disease.

They may also be undetectable in your blood. In this stage, you have a relatively small number of myeloma cells in your blood and urine. Your hemoglobin levels are only slightly below normal. Bone X-rays may look normal or show only one affected area. In this stage, a moderate number of myeloma cells are present.

Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

Hemoglobin levels are usually much lower than normal. Monoclonal immunoglobulin may be increased, and blood calcium levels may also be high. X-rays may show several areas of bone damage. In the final stage of multiple myeloma, a high number of myeloma cells are found. Your hemoglobin level is also usually below 8. There are multiple areas of bone destruction caused by the cancer. They may not apply to your condition. Your doctor can discuss your outlook in better detail.

Survival rates have been calculated using past conditions.


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As treatments become better, outlook and survival rates do as well. The average is the median survival rate. This means that half of the people with multiple myeloma lived longer than the average length for each stage.

Post Diagnosis of #MultipleMyeloma (video 2 of 4) - Mayo Clinic

These figures include people treated over the past 5 to 25 years. The ACS notes that treatment has improved a great deal during that time period. This means that survival rates will hopefully continue to improve. SEER stats show that the five-year relative survival rate improved dramatically from to In the United States, myeloma is the 14th leading cause of cancer deaths. The lifetime risk of developing myeloma is 0. Multiple myeloma is almost exclusively diagnosed in people aged 65 or older.

People under age 35 represent less than 1 percent of cases, according to the ACS. Eventually, the cancer cells overtake healthy blood cells, and your body becomes unable to produce disease-fighting antibodies. Instead, it creates harmful proteins that damage your kidneys and cause other signs and symptoms. Knowing the most common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma may help you detect it before it becomes advanced. Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of the potential warning signs.

As the cancer advances, symptoms vary greatly. Instead, they live and accumulate. In the case of multiple myeloma, cancer cells rapidly multiply and eventually overwhelm bone marrow. The production of cancer cells outpaces the production of healthy blood cells, and the cancer cells crowd out the healthy ones. This leads to anemia , fatigue , and frequent infections. Instead of producing helpful antibodies like normal plasma cells, myeloma cancer cells produce abnormal and harmful antibodies.


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Over time, these proteins build up in your body and can damage your kidneys. You should always be aware of any persistent and unexplained symptom, even minor ones. In many cases, these unusual signs or symptoms can be easily explained. However, if unusual symptoms persist, make an appointment to see your doctor. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells. Learn about multiple myeloma symptoms, diagnosis, risk factors, and treatment. If you have multiple myeloma, the side effects of chemotherapy can cause you to lose your appetite.

BY Jay Lopiccolo. How do you react if you feel pain in your rib cage, yet X-rays show no fractures? These are some of the questions I was asking myself in The rib pain was initially diagnosed as costochondritis, a cartilage disorder that can cause significant discomfort around the sternum. I chalked them up to getting older. I was tired and in nearly constant pain.

Blood tests showed moderate anemia and high levels of protein, but were otherwise inconclusive. My doctor ordered more extensive blood tests. While waiting for the results, I started looking online for potential causes of my symptoms. One was multiple myeloma , a rare cancer that typically affects men in their 60s.

Since I was only 38 at the time, I figured my odds of having multiple myeloma were similar to my odds of winning the lottery. I was stunned. I grasped that my doctor was referring me to someone, but I missed most of the details. Luckily, because I live in a suburb just north of Houston, my doctor referred me to Douglas Nelson, M.

My first visit was a whirlwind of activity. My wife and I met with Dr. Nelson and his staff. Then I had a bone marrow biopsy and all the other diagnostic tests necessary for a formal diagnosis. With the holidays coming up, Dr. Nelson told us to go ahead and keep our travel plans. I could begin my multiple myeloma treatment when we returned in January. Of course, enjoying a trip after receiving an incurable cancer diagnosis is easier said than done. But we tried not let the news ruin our celebration.

At MD Anderson , I received a relatively new multiple myeloma chemotherapy regimen before it became the standard of care. It was a day cycle which consisted of one Revlimid lenalidomide capsule for 14 days, four Velcade injections over the first 12 days and two dexamethasone tablets taken in conjunction with each injection.

Then, in April , I received an autologous stem cell transplant. After that, I was given a choice: I could restart my induction therapy protocol, begin a typical maintenance therapy protocol or join a Phase II clinical trial under Robert Orlowski, M. I opted for the clinical trial. And while I do have a few lingering side effects — mainly mild neuropathy , muscle fatigue and digestive upsets — they are totally manageable and not significantly different than what would be expected with traditional maintenance therapy.

Best of all, I have seen no disease progression since starting the clinical trial.

Multiple myeloma - Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment | BMJ Best Practice

Today, I am living a nearly normal life, even with an incurable cancer. Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling My Chart. Donate Today. For Physicians. Cancer Moonshots. We're here for you.

Epidemiology and Pathophysiology

Call us at or request an appointment online. Let's get started. Request an appointment online. Jump To:. Get details about our clinical trials that are currently enrolling patients. View Clinical Trials. What is Multiple Myeloma? Multiple Myeloma Causes In , an estimated , people in the United States were living with multiple myeloma.

However, certain things appear to make you more likely to develop multiple myeloma: Age: Over 65 Gender: Men are slightly more likely to develop multiple myeloma. Race: African-Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to develop multiple myeloma. Radiation exposure Family history: If a parent, brother or sister has the disease, your risk is four times higher.

However, this is rare. Working in oil-related industry: While some studies suggest this, it has not been proven.

About Multiple Myeloma

Obesity Other plasma cell diseases: If you have had one of the following you are at higher risk: A precancerous condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance MGUS A single tumor of plasma cells solitary plasmacytoma. What are some multiple myeloma symptoms?