You’ve probably never heard of multiple myeloma, commonly referred to as myeloma, and that’s because it’s an extremely rare type of cancer. It is a type of blood cancer that invades the bone marrow (spongy tissue in the bone) and causes abnormal behavior, as well as uncontrolled growth of a specific type of white blood cell, the plasma cells.
The plasma cells are “a type of white blood cell and are responsible for recognizing foreign infections and making antibodies to fight them,” writes Healthline. Plasma cells live in the bone marrow and are responsible for making other healthy cells. But when the body is overtaken by multiple myeloma, cancer cells overtake the healthy blood cells, stopping them from being able to produce new healthy cells and antibodies to fight off infection.
To learn more about this condition, here’s an overlook at the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment of multiple myeloma…
1. Common Symptoms Myeloma
Like many other health conditions, the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma aren’t so cut and dry. Many people don’t experience any symptoms in the early stages of cancer, so it can be hard to detect. Of course, as the cancer advances and becomes more serious, it begins to show more signs. Healthline still warns that it’s hard to give an overall draft of what every person will experience, because it can be different for each person.
Many people will experience fatigue as the body tries to fight off invading germs. “As myeloma cells replace bone marrow, your body has to work much harder with fewer disease-fighting cells, and you tire more easily,” writes Healthline. You might also experience bone problems as the disease prevents the body from making new bone cells. This can lead to bone pain, weakened bones, and broken bones.
Multiple myeloma can also cause kidney problems as it produces “harmful proteins that can cause kidney damage and even failure,” writes the source. You will likely be battling a low blood count as the myeloma cells crowd out the healthy blood cells. This leads to a slew of other problems including frequent infections, and low red and white blood cell counts, which makes it hard to fight infection.