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Multiple Myeloma

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple Myeloma is a form of cancer characterized by uncontrolled production of plasma cells. Plasma cells are produced in the bone marrow. They are responsible helping protect the body from infection and disease. The increase in plasma cells causes bones to weaken and break.

Multiple myeloma causes calcium to leak out of bones and into the bloodstream. High levels of calcium in the bloodstream causes nausea, constipation, dehydration and drowsiness. High levels of calcium in the bloodstream can also cause kidney failure.

Multiple Myeloma usually affects people older than 40 years old. The average age of patients at diagnosis is between 65 and 70 years old.

Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

The most common symptoms are:

  • fatigue and weakness
  • back pain
  • unexplained bone fractures in the vertebrae and/or ribs
  • vulnerability to infection
  • nose bleeding
  • bleeding gums
  • weight loss

Emergency Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

  • severe constipation
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • excessive sleepiness
  • significant decrease in urine flow
  • numbness or weakness in arms and legs

How is Multiple Myeloma Diagnosed?

Your doctor will test your blood and bone marrow

Treatments of Multiple Myeloma

Treatments are aimed to minimize symptoms, prevent complications and prolong life. Unfortunately, there is no cure for multiple myeloma. Some of the most common treatments are chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation and surgery. Your doctor will monitor your condition so he can prescribe treatments that will slow the progress of the disease.

 

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