(Multiple) Myeloma: Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Receiving a diagnosis of skin cancer is a nightmare for most patients. After times of uncertainty, you finally know what it is, but for most diagnosed patients, it is just the beginning of more uncertain times. After the diagnosis, you’ll get more and more tests, and, if possible, you’ve to start treatment immediately. Approximately 100,000 Americans are suffering from this horrendous disease, which makes it (fortunately) a rare form of cancer. However, this makes it crucial to detect symptoms as soon as possible because the sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment initiated, the better the chances are.

What is Multiple Myeloma?
First, it’s important to know what multiple myeloma – sometimes just called myeloma – is and if there are different types of this disease. Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that affects the plasma cells. Plasma cells, also called plasmacytes, are a type of white blood cell and are incredibly important for your body. They make large amounts of antibodies which your body needs. With myeloma, the plasma cells grow out of control, mutate in abnormal cells, and produce abnormal antibodies. Eventually, there will be too many mutated cancerous cells in the bone marrow, and as a result, red & white blood cells and platelets no longer have room to grow into healthy cells. This will cause life-threatening complications.

Causes & Risk Factors of Multiple Myeloma
To this day, it is still not clear what causes multiple myeloma. Potential causes medical scientists are still examining include genetic mutations, environmental factors, like exposure to radiation, pesticides, and fertilizer, suffering from an inflammatory disease or condition, like Diabetes Type II or rheumatoid arthritis, and/or having obesity. Although the cause is not yet known, we already know that several factors increase the risk of myeloma. Risk factors include:

  • Getting older
  • Being male
  • Being black
  • Family history of multiple myeloma
  • Having monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)

Continue reading on the next page, and discover how you can recognize this cancer and what you should do if you suspect a loved one or yourself is suffering from multiple myeloma.