Multiple Myeloma (cont.)
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is multiple myeloma?
- What causes multiple myeloma?
- What are risk factors for multiple myeloma?
- What are the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma?
- How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?
- What are the stages of multiple myeloma?
- What is the treatment for multiple myeloma?
- What is the prognosis for multiple myeloma?
- What support systems are available for multiple myeloma?
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
What are the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma can have no symptoms, especially early in the disease, to severe symptoms, especially in those people diagnosed late in the disease process. The following is a list symptoms and signs of multiple myeloma that may be present in multiple myeloma:
- Nerve damage
- Skin lesions
- Enlarged tongue (macroglossia)
- Bone tenderness or pain
- Weakness or tiredness
- Pathologic bone fractures
- Spinal cord compression
- Kidney failure
How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?
In many patients, multiple myeloma is first suspected when a routine blood test shows unusual blood cells. The doctor will do a history and physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms (see above) of multiple myeloma. If multiple myeloma is suspected, several studies help confirm the diagnosis. They include a bone marrow biopsy or needle aspiration of cells to be viewed by a pathologist and to be studied for their genetic function (metaphase cytogenetics) and measurements by several methods that determine levels and types of monoclonal proteins produced. In 2011, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommended that a serum free light chain assay and fluorescence in situ hybridization test be used to further identify multiple myeloma in patients. Most clinicians will use X-ray studies to identify skeletal lesions and MRI for spinal, paraspinal, or spinal cord lesions in multiple myeloma. In addition, several routine tests (CBC, sedimentation rate, BUN, C-reactive protein, and others) are also done.
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