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What Is Multiple Myeloma? -- Dr. Emad Ibrahim, MD (AHJ BloodDisorders)

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Published on Mar 8, 2012

What Is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma, also known as plasma cell myeloma or Kahler's disease or bone marrow cancer, is a cancer of the white blood cells, or plasma cells which are typically responsible for the production of the body's antibodies. Plasma cells, myeloma cells, become cancerous and multiply, raising the number of plasma cells to a number higher than normal. This increases the amount of abnormal proteins in the blood stream which affects the body's organs in a negative fashion especially the kidneys which act as the filter for the body's blood. Symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain (back or ribs, usually), broken spinal bones, feeling weak and tired, poor immune response, nausea or constipation and frequent urination. The cause of this form of cancer is unknown, yet medical professionals are certain that it begins with a single abnormal cell that multiplies. Multiple myeloma is called multiple myeloma because patients usually have multiple bone lesions during the time that they are diagnosed with this form of cancer.

Multiple myeloma is usually diagnosed through a routine blood test. Doctors also identify multiple myeloma by x-raying broken bones. Urine tests, x-rays and biopsies can also help to detect this form of cancer. Therapies and treatments include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and steroids. Stem cell transplants can also be effective in treating patients with multiple myeloma. Bone marrow transplants can be an effective treatment for individuals suffering from multiple myeloma.

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