Multiple Myeloma: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of certain cells of the bone marrow called plasma cells. Multiple myeloma is a form of bone marrow cancer. Plasma cells normally produce our antibodies. Multiple myeloma features abnormal proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow, destructive bone lesions, and the production of abnormal proteins, specifically antibodies. Multiple myeloma is also referred to as myeloma.

Multiple myeloma causes a host of organ problems and symptoms. Common symptoms of multiple myeloma include

  • fatigue,
  • bone pain,
  • back pain,
  • increased infections,
  • constipation,
  • numbness in the legs,
  • abnormal blood clotting,
  • bone fracture,
  • susceptibility to infection, and
  • kidney damage and kidney failure.

Causes of multiple myeloma

The cause of multiple myeloma is not known. For many, there is thought to be a premalignant stage whereby plasma cells in the bone marrow produce a seemingly benign, single type of antibody for years. This is called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS. After 50 years of age, MGUS is present in over 3% of the population. In those with MGUS, myeloma or another cancer develops at a rate of 1% per year.

Other multiple myeloma symptoms and signs

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/10/2019

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