Multiple myeloma is a cancer that originates in the bone marrow, in which myeloma cells build up in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a soft tissue in bones, where most blood cells are produced.
Plasma cells are the white blood cells involved in fighting the infection. Plasma cells generate antibodies, proteins that are involved in fighting the infection. Genetic alterations in the plasma cells turn them into myeloma cells. Myeloma cells divide rapidly, are produced in excess numbers, and don't die quickly. These myeloma cells eventually cause a clump that destroys the bone marrow.
In multiple myeloma, myeloma cells outnumber healthy cells. It causes bone pain and leads to fractures.
Myeloma cells produce antibodies called M-proteins, which do not fight any infection.
There is a significant development in the available therapies for multiple myeloma, which helped improve patients' overall survival.
Also read: Cervical cancer overview, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
There is no specific reason for the cause of multiple myeloma. Myeloma, like other cancers, occurs because of mutations in normal cells. These mutations generally do not pass through families and are non-hereditary.
TYPES OF MYELOMA
Myeloma that causes symptoms and needs medical intervention is called active myeloma. The symptoms include bone pain, infections, fatigue, etc. The myeloma has at least 10% of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Myeloma that has no symptoms and requires no medical intervention is called smoldering myeloma. People with smoldering myeloma have M-protein in their plasma and blood; however, not in high quantities.
Bone damage and pain: During myeloma, the myeloma cells outnumber the normal cells, causing bone damage. They also release protein that damages the bone, causing fractures. The most common site of bone fractures is the spine.
Fatigue: Fatigue can be a symptom because of anemia. It occurs because myeloma cells outnumber the red blood cells in the bone marrow.
High infection rates: Because of fewer antibodies and normal white blood cells, frequent fevers and infections occur.
Easy bleeds: Platelets are responsible for blood clots; myeloma cells outnumber the platelets during myeloma. This causes bleeds or bruising.
Thirsty and frequent urination: The kidneys get damaged because of the excess M-protein. This might lead to either increase or decrease in urination.