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Multiple Myeloma Cancer

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Overview

Multiple Myeloma is a form of blood cancer that develops in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. It is very rare form of cancer and the lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 132 (0.76%). According to the Globocan 2018 report, the incidence rate and mortality rate for multiple myeloma was found to be 1.1% and 1.30% respectively in India.

Types of Multiple Myeloma Cancer

Smouldering multiple myeloma

This type of multiple myeloma cancer is also known as asymptomatic myeloma.

Active multiple myeloma

These patients show some of the following features:

  • Plasma cells make-up 10% or more of the blood cells in the bone marrow.
  • Detection of M-protein in the blood or urine.
  • Plasmacytoma presence in the bone or soft tissue.
  • Excess levels of calcium in blood.
  • Anaemia and kidney damage.

Causes

Myeloma is caused by a close link between multiple myeloma and monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS). Each year, 1 out of 100 people with MGUS develop multiple myeloma. People diagnosed with MGUS will have to do regular tests to check for cancer.

Risk Factors

Age

Age is the most significant risk factor for developing multiple myeloma. It usually occurs in people more than 45 years of age.

Race

It is more likely to occur in black populations than in white and Asian population.

Family History

People with a family history of MGUS or multiple myeloma are at more risk of developing multiple myeloma.

Gender

Men are more likely to develop myeloma than women.

Signs & symptoms

Anaemia

Excess calcium levels in the blood

Kidney damage

Weight loss

Pain in the bone, osteoporosis, swelling in the bone

Prone to infection

Diagnosis

Bone marrow biopsy

Bone marrow biopsy is performed to look for cancerous plasma cells and diagnose multiple myeloma.

X-Rays & CT- Scan

Performed to look for any damage in the arms, legs, skull, spine, and pelvis.

MRI scan

Particularly helpful in examining myeloma affecting the bones of the spine.

Blood & urine tests

These tests are also useful in diagnosing myeloma.

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