Multiple Myeloma – Information, Treatment & Support
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow, starting in the plasma cells.
What is multiple myeloma?
What causes it?
- Back pain is often the main symptom of multiple myeloma, as it is often found in the spine.
- Tiredness caused by anaemia.
- Repeated coughs, colds and infections because of the low levels of immunity (because there are no antibodies).
- Kidney infection caused by the paraproteins.
TIP: If you have any of these symptoms you should have them checked by a doctor – but remember, they are common to many illnesses other than multiple myeloma.
People suspected of having multiple myeloma will need to have blood and urine tests, to see if there are paraproteins present. If paraproteins are present then a bone marrow biopsy will probably be performed. X-rays or bone scans are also performed to determine if there are any areas of bone that have been weakened or eroded by the myeloma cells.
Multiple myeloma is treatable, but not generally curable. Treatment may involve chemotherapy and steroid treatment. Often myeloma is slow to develop and so often doesn’t need treatment initially. A stem cell transplant may be used to try and induce remission. Radiotherapy may be used to strengthen the bone and reduce pain in the affected areas. Surgery may also occasionally be used to prevent fractures or, rarely, to remove areas of myeloma that are pressing on parts of the body such as the spinal cord.