Multiple myeloma is a cancer that starts in the blood cells and develops into bone and soft tissue tumors. The exact cause of multiple myeloma is unknown, but it has been linked to hereditary conditions, infection, radiation exposure, and certain drugs, including chemotherapy and hormones. It is most commonly found in older adults, especially men. Blood cancer with no cure is also the deadliest cancer of the blood, affecting more people than all other types of cancers combined.
This article is not about how to treat myeloma but rather about what myeloma is and what causes it. Myeloma is a cancer that starts in plasma cells, an immune system cell. These cells normally protect the body from infection. However, when there are too many plasma cells, they can become abnormal and begin to grow uncontrollably. Myeloma affects the bone marrow, where red and white blood cells are formed. The bone is destroyed when there are too many plasma cells in the bone marrow.
This destroys the ability of the bone marrow to produce normal blood cells. The result is that patients may experience extreme fatigue, fever, bone pain, and weight loss. The disease can also affect organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, and brain. There is currently no cure for myeloma, but treatment can be life-saving. The diagnosis is devastating; it’s like getting a death sentence. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that doesn’t have any cure. It attacks your bone marrow and causes the production of too many antibodies that crowd out healthy blood cells, leaving you with dangerously low levels of red blood cells and platelets.
What is multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the blood cells that makes up the immune system. This type of cancer typically affects older adults and is most common in people 50 and older. Multiple myeloma is usually treated with a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs. The disease is also treated with autologous stem cell transplants and sometimes with bone marrow transplants. Some patients will also undergo surgery to remove tumors. However, there is currently no cure for multiple myeloma.
Types of multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma is the name of the cancer that affects more people than all other types of cancers combined. Over 200,000 new cases of multiple myeloma are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. It is a type of plasma cell cancer and is the second most common form of blood cancer after leukemia. Four main types of myeloma are classified based on the type of abnormal plasma cells they produce. These are:
1. Plasma cell myeloma is the most common form of myeloma. It is a cancer that develops from plasma cells in the bone marrow. These cells produce monoclonal proteins that interfere with normal body functions. The most common symptoms of this form are fatigue, bone pain, and recurrent infections.
2. Castleman disease is a rare, benign tumor-like condition that occurs primarily in young adults and has a slight male predominance. It can cause swelling and inflammation of lymph nodes and is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma.
3. Mantle cell lymphoma – Mantle cell lymphoma is a lymphoid cancer usually affecting older adults. It is the second most common form of blood cancer, following chronic lymphocytic leukemia. An aggressive disease course and poor prognosis characterize mantle cell lymphoma.
4. Follicular lymphoma – Follicular lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that starts in lymph nodes and produces abnormal lymphocytes that are present in the lymph nodes. Most people diagnosed with follicular lymphoma have a good response to treatment.
What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma?
Many of you know myeloma, but you may not know how deadly it is. There is no cure for myeloma. Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are the immune cells that produce antibodies. These antibodies fight off bacteria and viruses, but when the body makes them in too high of numbers, it becomes a problem. Myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow, and it affects the bones. It can spread into the bloodstream, lungs, and brain. It can also affect other organs, such as the kidneys, liver, and eyes. The most common myeloma symptoms are pain, fever, fatigue, and weight loss. Myeloma can also cause problems with blood clotting, and it can make your bones weak. A person with multiple myeloma will usually feel fatigued and experience severe bone pain.
How do I know if I have multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that affects the blood. While most people assume that type of cancer is rare, it’s the most common blood cancer. There are three main types of myeloma, each with slightly different symptoms. The most common type is monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, a diagnosis given to someone with certain symptoms but whose blood tests show no sign of myeloma. The second type is multiple myeloma. This is the one you’re reading about. Finally, light chain disease is another type of myeloma that can be diagnosed using a simple blood test.
What are the treatments for multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that doesn’t have any cure. It affects about 12,000 people in the United States and is the most common form of blood cancer. Multiple myeloma starts with a single abnormal cell in the bone marrow. As the tumor grows, it eventually spreads to other body parts. Multiple myeloma has a median survival of 2-3 years. This means that half of the patients live longer and half live shorter. Treatments include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and targeted therapy.
Frequently asked questions about multiple myeloma.
Q: How did you get diagnosed with multiple myeloma?
A: After my first diagnosis, I didn’t have any symptoms. I went to see a doctor because I was having problems getting pregnant. She told me that I had to go to the hospital immediately. I was so scared that I got an emergency room appointment and went straight to the hospital.
Q: Did they find out you had cancer?
A: Yes. They found a tumor in my hip. When I was going through treatment, it was really hard. There were times when I just wanted to quit.
Q: How long did you have treatment?
A: I had six months of chemotherapy. That ended, and I went through 1 year of maintenance.
Q: How are you doing now?
A: I’m doing well. I’m married to a wonderful man, and we have three beautiful children. I’m still living life to the fullest. I can’t imagine having to deal with this twice.
Myths about multiple myeloma
1. Multiple myeloma only occurs in older adults.
2. Multiple myeloma only occurs in older men.
3. Multiple myeloma is the result of a genetic mutation.
4. Multiple myeloma is the result of some viral infection.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2015. I wanted to share what I learned as someone who has been fighting this disease since then. I have written this article to help others facing this diagnosis and raise awareness about cancer that doesn’t have a cure. I’m not saying Multiple Myeloma is a hopeless condition. I’m optimistic about its future because I’m seeing promising results. There’s a reason why I have made it my goal to fight this disease, and I’m determined to see it through. I will continue sharing my story as long as I can, and I hope you will read it and share it too.