Multiple Myeloma Overview
What is multiple myeloma?
A person with multiple myeloma has cells in the bone marrow that are multiplying out of control. These cells, called plasma cells, are blood cells that help fight infection by producing proteins called antibodies. Antibodies help neutralize foreign substances in the body. In someone with multiple myeloma, the high number of plasma cells results in the production of too many antibodies. In turn, the person has elevated levels of antibodies in the bloodstream and urine. Multiple myeloma can lead to anemia, kidney failure, excessive bleeding, and loss of bone strength. The cause of multiple myeloma is unknown, but genetics may play a role in determining risk.
What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma?
Symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain, back pain, arm pain, leg pain, chest pain, bone swelling, limb swelling, chest wall swelling, fatigue, headache, anorexia, weight loss, bleeding gums, easy bleeding, nosebleeds, excessive bruising, and pale skin.
How does the doctor treat multiple myeloma?
The treatment for multiple myeloma includes erythropoietin, corticosteroids, bisphosphonate medications, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplant.
Continue to Multiple Myeloma Incidence
- Angtuaco EJ, Fassas AB, Walker R, Sethi R, Barlogie B. Multiple myeloma: clinical review and diagnostic imaging. Radiology. 2004 Apr;231(1):11-23. 
- Kumar A, Loughran T, Alsina M, Durie BG, Djulbegovic B. Management of multiple myeloma: a systematic review and critical appraisal of published studies. Lancet Oncol. 2003 May;4(5):293-304. 
- Lynch HT, Sanger WG, Pirruccello S, Quinn-Laquer B, Weisenburger DD. Familial multiple myeloma: a family study and review of the literature. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001 Oct 3;93(19):1479-83.