What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma can be a scary diagnosis to receive, but it most often does not cause any serious complications or require extensive treatment. With that said, it can be helpful to have a full understanding of what multiple myeloma is and what life with multiple myeloma is like.

Information about multiple myeloma

While any form of cancer can be scary, multiple myeloma can be managed and does not have to drastically alter the way you live your life on a daily basis. The following is everything to know about multiple myeloma, including exactly what it is, what the symptoms are and how medical professionals diagnose and treat it.

An overview of multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that develops inside of plasma cells which are responsible for helping the body attack germs and fight infections. When multiple myeloma develops, it affects the plasma cells ability to do their job, and the cancer cells produce harmful proteins that may lead to various health complications. Not everyone who has multiple myeloma experiences symptoms that are of real concern - in which case treatment may not be necessary. However, more severe instances of multiple myeloma may require medical intervention.

Multiple myeloma symptoms

It is essential to be aware of the symptoms of multiple myeloma and contact your medical professional if various symptoms exist simultaneously. However, multiple myeloma symptoms are not always indistinguishable from other health complications, which make the diagnosis of the condition much more difficult. Some of the more common signs of multiple myeloma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Constant infections
  • Weight loss
  • Disorientation

Of course, there are many other conditions that exhibit similar symptoms, so try your best to avoid self-diagnosis if these symptoms exist, but do not hesitate to schedule a visit with your physician as soon as possible.

The diagnosis of multiple myeloma

If your doctor suspects multiple myeloma is the cause of your symptoms, there are a number of tests they can run to confirm the diagnosis. Most commonly, doctors will perform a blood test when checking for multiple myeloma. When analyzing the blood test, she or he is likely to check for any signs of abnormal protein growth in the blood cells. Additionally, they may check the blood count and kidney function as well. To further confirm the diagnosis, doctors may order urine tests or even bone marrow tests in addition to various blood tests.

Treatment options for multiple myeloma

If the condition is not too severe, simply monitoring the symptoms may be all that is required. However, more serious instances of multiple myeloma may require more invasive treatment. There are certain medications doctors may prescribe that might cause myeloma cells to become ineffective and inevitably die. More invasive measures may be necessary if medication is not effective at relieving the symptoms, and doctors may choose to utilize a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy or radiation therapy to effectively fight off the myeloma cells inside the blood.

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