Multiple myeloma or often called myeloma, is one type of blood cancer. Myeloma is a plasma cell cancer found in bone marrow, which is an important part of the immune system. Plasma cells produce antibodies or immunoglobulins, which help the body attack and fight infections. Read on this article, to get to know myeloma blood cancer further.
Various facts about myeloma blood cancer
1. The cause of myeloma blood cancer is unknown
Just like other types of cancer, the cause of myeloma blood cancer is unknown. However, the researchers suspect that changes in DNA can make plasma cells turn into cancer cells.
In addition, there is a close relationship between blood cancer myeloma and a condition called monoclonal gammopathy (MGUS) which is not yet well known.
MGUS is a condition where there are excess protein molecules, called immunoglobulins, in your blood. This does not cause any symptoms and does not require treatment.
Every year, about 1 in every 100 people with MGUS continues to develop myeloma. There is no known way to delay or prevent this, so people with MGUS will do routine tests to check for cancer.
Blood cancer myeloma occurs when plasma cells in the bone marrow become cancerous and grow out of control. This growth produces a tumor in the bone marrow and may interfere with other body parts.
2. Blood cancer myeloma is more common in men
Blood cancer myeloma can occur in anyone, of all ages, both men and women. However, a study in 2011 reported that nearly 52 percent of myeloma patients were male.
In addition, this blood cancer is also more common in adults over the age of 60 years. However, most of the new conditions can be diagnosed in around 70 years. While this blood cancer rarely occurs in people under the age of 30 years.
3. Early-stage blood cancer is usually asymptomatic
Symptoms of myeloma blood cancer are not easily detected. In the early stages, you may not experience any symptoms. Usually the symptoms begin to appear if the cancer has progressed or is advanced.
When cancer begins to develop, the symptoms of myeloma blood cancer vary in each person. The following are symptoms of multiple myeloma.
- Fatigue. Healthy cells allow your body to fight germs easily. When myeloma cells replace the bone marrow, your body must work harder with fewer cells that fight disease, and you are more easily tired.
- Bone problems. Myeloma can prevent your body from making new bone cells, causing problems such as bone pain, weak bones, and broken bones.
- Kidney problems. Myeloma cells produce dangerous proteins that can cause damage to kidney failure.
- Low blood count. Myeloma cells expel healthy blood cells, which cause low red blood counts (anemia) and low white blood cells (leukopenia). Unhealthy blood cell levels make it harder to fight infection.
- Frequent infections. The fewer antibodies in your blood, the harder it will be to fight infection.
In addition, other symptoms of myeloma blood cancer include:
- weight drops dramatically
- loss of appetite
- feet numb and weak
- stiff swells
- thirst more often
- frequent urination
- pain, especially in the back or abdomen
4. Blood cancer can be treated, but it cannot be cured completely
Blood cancer myeloma cannot be cured but it is possible to treat patients' symptoms and complaints. With an early diagnosis by a doctor, blood cancer will be more likely to be treated.
The treatment of myeloma blood cancer starts with drugs to balance and strengthen the immune system. Then, a combination of treatment, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, transplant cell transplantation, and surgery will be recommended depending on the severity of each patient's condition.
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