Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Definition Of Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, white blood cells that produce antibodies to help fight disease and infection. Multiple myeloma is a progressive blood disease that is not curable but is treatable. Multiple myeloma is also known by several other names, including plasma cell myeloma, myeloma, myelomatosis and Kahler disease.


Multiple myeloma begins with a single abnormal plasma cell in the bone marrow. It divides and multiplies rapidly, making many more abnormal cells. These abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, don't die off in an orderly fashion like normal cells. These extra myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow, often damaging the bone. They can travel to other bone marrow sites, and the disease becomes multiple myeloma. The damage to the bone marrow and immune system can result in anemia and infection, as well as kidney problems.


Multiple myeloma may not produce any symptoms in its early stages. When symptoms do occur, they vary from person to person. Common symptoms, according to the National Cancer Institute, include bone pain, especially in the back and ribs; broken bones, usually in the spine; feeling weak and exhausted; and extreme thirst. Other symptoms include frequent infections and fevers, weight loss, frequent urination, and nausea or constipation.


The typical symptoms of multiple myeloma often are not caused by the cancer itself, but by other health problems that result because of the cancer. For example, multiple myeloma can cause affected bones to dissolve, releasing a high level of calcium into the blood. This calcium causes the nausea, constipation, and excessive thirst and urination. Because many of the symptoms of multiple myeloma can also be caused by other conditions, a medical evaluation and diagnosis should be conducted as soon as possible after the symptoms begin.


Although multiple myeloma has no cure, several treatment options can help control the disease and its symptoms. The most common are watchful waiting, stem cell transplant and induction therapy. A combination of treatments is often used. The method of treatment depends primarily on how advanced the disease is and whether symptoms are present.


According to statistics from the American Cancer Society, multiple myeloma is fairly uncommon. It is estimated that about 20,600 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States during 2009. For U.S. residents, the lifetime risk of developing multiple myeloma is one in 161. The five-year survival rate for patients with multiple myeloma is approximately 35 percent.

Tags: bone marrow, abnormal plasma, cells These, multiple myeloma, multiple myeloma, multiple myeloma, multiple myeloma