Multiple myeloma, a type of cancer, develops in the plasma cells (a type of WBC). Plasma cells produce antibodies that assist the immune system in fighting infection. It is also called plasma cell myeloma. Multiple myeloma is a rare type of cancer with a low survival rate.
It is called multiple myeloma, and it often affects several areas of the body, like the skull, spine, ribs, and pelvis. It is the second most common type of blood cancer.
Types of Multiple Myeloma
The common types of multiple myeloma are:
Solitary Plasmacytomas: It usually develops in the bones and other tissues.
Extramedullary Plasmacytomas: They develop outside the bone marrow.
Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance: It does not cause any symptoms and involves M protein which are abnormal antibodies made by myeloma cells.
Smoldering Multiple Myeloma: It is the precancerous form of multiple myeloma.
Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma
The common symptoms of multiple myeloma are:
- Bruising or bleeding easily
- Bone pain, mainly in the chest or back
- Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
- Severe thirst
- Frequent fever and infections
- Upset stomach or constipation
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in arms and legs
- Feeling confused or foggy
If an individual experiences one or more of the above symptoms, they should consult a physician immediately. At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, we have the best doctors for multiple myeloma in Nashik and they have vast experience in diagnosing and treating patients with multiple myeloma.
Causes of Multiple Myeloma
Many factors that increase the risk of multiple myeloma are:
- Age above 60 years
- Being male
- Being Black African
- Having an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis
- A family history of multiple myeloma
- Exposure to certain chemicals or radiations like herbicides, rubber manufacturing, petroleum industry
- A history of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
- Being overweight or obese
Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma
At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, we have some of the finest multiple myeloma specialists in Nashik, who use advanced technologies to diagnose this condition accurately and help patients receive the right care. The common tests performed for the diagnosis of multiple myeloma are:
- Laboratory tests: The doctor advises the patient to undergo several laboratory tests. The complete blood cell count allows the doctor to determine the level of blood cells. The laboratory tests also determine the presence of M protein and beta-2 microglobulin, which may indicate multiple myeloma. The disease also affects calcium levels. Thus, the doctor may also recommend a calcium test for the patient.
- Free light chains: They help measure the antibodies in the blood, and their low level may indicate multiple myeloma.
- Bone marrow aspiration: During this procedure, the doctor removes a sample of liquid from the back of the spine from the bone marrow and examines it for myeloma.
- Bone X-rays: A series of X-rays of bone are taken to check for the destruction caused by myeloma cells.
- Computerized Tomography (CT): The CT scan helps the doctor check the holes in the bones caused by myeloma.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It creates a detailed image of the bones of the spine, brain, and spinal cord along with bone marrow to check for myeloma.
- Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH): The fish test helps to detect the myeloma cells, defects in the genes, and metastasis of myeloma.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: It helps to detect early myeloma and extramedullary sites of myeloma.
Treatment for Multiple Myeloma
We strive to deliver the best multiple myeloma treatment in Nashik, and we use the following techniques:
Chemotherapy: It is the common choice of treatment for malignant myeloma. Chemotherapy uses strong anti-cancer drugs to kill myeloma cells, prevent them from progressing, and ease signs and symptoms. The multiple myeloma treatment plan includes:
- Induction chemotherapy: A combination of chemotherapy drugs is used to destroy myeloma cells as much as possible.
- Consolidation chemotherapy: A high dose of chemotherapy drugs is used to kill or destroy remaining myeloma cells.
- Maintenance chemotherapy: It is used to ease signs and symptoms of myeloma.
Radiation therapy: Myeloma cells are very sensitive to radiotherapy. It is usually given to the specific bones where myeloma has resulted in weak bones and is at risk of breaking. External beam radiation therapy is generally used for multiple myeloma. It can also reduce signs and symptoms and slow down the progression of myeloma.
Stem cell transplant: It is a potential method used for the treatment of multiple myeloma. The number of myeloma cells is initially reduced by using strong chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Later, the stem cells are replaced using the new healthy blood-forming stem cells that can be taken from the patient or the donor.
Immunotherapy: It works by turning the immune system against the myeloma cells. It strengthens the immune system to directly kill the myeloma cells and prevent the metastasis of myeloma. Immunomodulatory drugs are used as the standard treatment of immunotherapy for multiple myeloma.
Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy for multiple myeloma is used to kill myeloma cells, reduce the number of myeloma cells before a stem cell transplant, or when other methods of treatment are not working. Targeted therapy also reduces the risk of recurrence.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is multiple myeloma hereditary?
Multiple myeloma is not hereditary in most cases. However, there are slight chances it could be transferred from parents to their children.
2. How does multiple myeloma affect the body?
It replaces healthy plasma cells with abnormal plasma cells. It decreases the number of WBC cells, leading to decreased immunity, bleeding, causing anemia, damaging the bones, and increasing the risk of fractures.
3. What is the survival rate for multiple myeloma?
Several factors that affect the survival rate are age, the person’s health, the stage of myeloma, and its metastasis to other organs. It is important to know that early detection and timely treatment can positively impact survival rates.
4. Can I prevent multiple myeloma?
Preventing multiple myeloma is very difficult, as the exact cause of myeloma is not known. Further, some of the risk factors for melanoma are non-modifiable, such as age and family history. Nevertheless, having a healthier lifestyle is one way to reduce your multiple myeloma