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Multiple Myeloma

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Multiple myeloma facts

  • Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
  • The cause of multiple myeloma is not known.
  • Risk factors for multiple myeloma have not been established although researchers have suggested genetic abnormalities, such as c-Myc genes or environmental exposures, may play a role.
  • Symptoms and signs of multiple myeloma include
  • Multiple myeloma is diagnosed with a bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy. Other tests include blood monoclonal immunoglobulin and radiology tests to determine the extent of bone lesions.
  • Although there are several staging systems, stages I, II, and III usually represent multiple myeloma with increasing severity of disease.
  • Treatment for multiple myeloma includes drugs that modulate the immune system, chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, stem cell transplants and, in some patients, surgery.
  • Although the patient's primary care physician is involved in organizing treatments, specialists who treat multiple myeloma include oncologists, hematologists, radiologists, experts in stem cell transplantation and orthopedic and/or spine surgeons.
  • The prognosis for myeloma is only fair. Median survival is about three years, but some patients have a life expectancy of 10 years.
  • The International Myeloma Foundation can provide further support for myeloma patients.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2017


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