Multiple Myeloma: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment

2 minute read

By Topic Insight Staff

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer that targets the senior community – and anyone over age 60 is at risk. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about multiple myeloma with a search online, which could help you spot early symptoms.

Early intervention is key and getting informed is the first step in protecting your health. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, possible risk factors, and treatment options for multiple myeloma.

What Is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is an extremely rare type of cancer. It is a type of blood cancer that invades the bone marrow (spongy tissue in the bone) and causes abnormal behavior, as well as uncontrolled growth of a specific type of white blood cell, the plasma cells.1

Plasma cells live in the bone marrow and are responsible for making other healthy cells. But when the body is overtaken by multiple myeloma, cancer cells overtake the healthy blood cells, stopping them from being able to produce new healthy cells and antibodies to fight off infection.

Causes of Multiple Myeloma

Unfortunately, researchers are still unclear about what causes multiple myeloma. What we do know is that multiple myeloma begins with “one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow — the soft, blood-producing tissue that fills in the center of most of your bones,” says the Mayo Clinic.2 These abnormal cells will then multiple rapidly, eventually overwhelming all the healthy cells.

Risk Factors for Multiple Myeloma

There are several factors that can put a person at an increased risk for developing multiple myeloma. The first is age. Healthline points out that the majority of patients who are diagnosed with this cancer are in their mid-60s.

The American Cancer Society notes that the percentage of cases involving patients under the age of 35 are less than 1-percent.3 The next risk factor listed by the source is race. According to Healthline, African-Americans are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer.

Treatment

There are several different standard treatments available, including different types of therapy, transplant, and medication. The first form of treatment listed by WebMD is immunomodulatory drugs, which work to boost the immune system so that it can turn on immune cells.4

Steroids can be used throughout all stages of the disease to ease symptoms and kill multiple myeloma cells. As the cancer develops and if there are issues with the treatment, other options might be adjunctive care, which helps manage the side effects of any medications and complications of the disease.

Topic Insight Staff

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