Forming in white blood cells known as plasma cells, multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to emerge in the bone marrow. Over time, these cancerous cells begin to push out healthy plasma cells responsible for fighting infections and producing the antibodies required to lead the fight against germs and infection. Instead, the cancerous cells produced by multiple myeloma result in the production of abnormal proteins that eventually cause significant health problems for the afflicted — in particular, kidney issues.
Because multiple myeloma targets healthy cells in the bone marrow, it’s often referred to as bone marrow cancer. As with any form of cancer, the key is being able to identify the signs and symptoms of the illness and take action before it becomes too serious. So, what exactly are the symptoms of multiple myeloma, often referred to as bone marrow cancer?
One of the earliest signs of multiple myeloma is a general feeling of exhaustion that fails to go away, even when one gets lots of rest and follows a healthy diet. These feelings of fatigue are usually related to the way multiple myeloma attacks the healthy cells of the bone marrow, which in many cases can result in anemia or inconsistent cytokine production.
Because feelings of fatigue are fairly common, this symptom should be considered in combination with other signs of multiple myeloma on this list. For example, someone who has a family history of cancer, and especially bone marrow cancer, will want to be tested for multiple myeloma if they suddenly experience a long, generally unbreaking wave of exhaustion lasting several days or weeks.