Call +1 844 627 7246

Multiple Myeloma

Find the answers to your questions about Multiple Myeloma. To make the most of our extensive source, please choose the topic you like, and simply click. 

Call us +1 844 627 7246

Multiple Myeloma 101 

A relatively rare type of blood cancer, multiple myeloma cases consist of the 0.76 percent of all cancer cases in the United States. It usually does not present symptoms and is diagnosed in the advanced stages. In this piece, we will go over the basics of multiple myeloma. 

What Is Myeloma? 

Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that occurs in a specific type of white blood cells called plasma cells, also called plasmacyte. Plasma cells’ role is to help fight infections by producing antibodies that are able to recognize and attack germs. The special antibodies have various names such as monoclonal immunoglobulin, monoclonal protein (M-protein), M-spike, or paraprotein]. Myeloma defines the situation where the plasma cells become cancerous. When myeloma occurs, the plasma cells start reproducing quickly, producing antibodies that are unable to help the immune system and accumulate in the bone marrow. The myeloma does not present itself with an observable physical presence such as a lump, but rather damages the bone marrow and affects the production of healthy blood cells. The accumulation of cancerous plasma cells forces other types of healthy blood cells to decrease in number, which eventually causes a weakened immune system. 

Myeloma has two main types: asymptomatic (smoldering) and symptomatic. In asymptomatic myeloma, no symptoms or tissue damage are observed. And in symptomatic myeloma, both symptoms and tissue damage are present. 

Although it is not clear why myeloma develops in the body, scientists found links connecting a surplus of protein molecules named immunoglobins to the disease. This condition in blood is called monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS). Although MGUS does not cause symptoms alone, it presents a risk of developing multiple myeloma with a percentage of about 1 in every 100 MGUS patients. 

What Is Multiple Myeloma? 

Myeloma is usually called multiple myeloma because the accumulation of cancerous plasma cells occurs in multiple parts of the body containing the bone marrow, such as the brain, spine, pelvis, etc. Similar to myeloma, multiple myeloma  causes a decrease in healthy blood cells, damage to the nearby bone tissue and organs, as well as circulatory problems. Low blood counts, bone and calcium problems, increase in infections, and kidney problems are common symptoms in multiple myeloma patients. 

Multiple myeloma is not considered a single disease, there are many subtypes that are either inactive or active. Active multiple myelomas are labeled as aggressive or non-aggressive based on the rate of growth and the spread of the cancer, as well as the symptoms and complications associated with the subtype. Myeloma subtypes are considered active if symptoms or organ damage from the disease have occurred. 

Multiple myeloma is the most common type of plasma cell cancer. More and more studies suggest that multiple myeloma runs in family. As of 2022, the disease is not yet curable but treatable. However, the clinical trials focusing on multiple myeloma provide new standards for patients every year and give them a chance to lead a life with higher quality. The overall five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma patients is 55 percent in the United States.  

What Is the Difference Between Myeloma and Multiple Myeloma? 

There is actually no difference between myeloma and multiple myeloma. The difference in naming is derived from the number of locations the disease is seen in the body. Multiple myeloma starts in the bone marrow, which is the spongy tissue in the bones where blood cells (red & white blood cells and platelets) are produced. And since the bone is a structural element of the body, malignant tumors usually appear in multiple locations, multiple myeloma is more commonly used.