November 9, 2017
1 minute, 40 seconds read
Cancer Care / Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant, Hematology Oncology, Medical Oncology
Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer of plasma cells. It is most commonly seen in people who are 60+ years of age. Though most patients who are suffering from this disease may have no symptoms at all if there are any, the patient might feel/have:
- Pain in bones, mostly spine, skull and hip bones
- Pathological fractures – can be seen in any part of the body and are very difficult to heal
- Swelling, mass seen in plasmacytoma- a collection of cancerous cells.
Low blood counts
- Shortage of normal blood cells like Red blood cells, white blood cells (WBC) or platelets
- Feeling Anemic, with low Hb and severe weakness. The patient can have difficulty in walking, climbing stairs or doing routine household work.
- Reduced WBC can cause susceptibility to infections especially pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
- Reduced platelets can cause bleeding
High Calcium levels
- High calcium levels can cause extreme thirst, pain abdomen, and dehydration
- Kidney failure
- Altered mentation
- Severe constipation
Nervous System Complaints
- As Myeloma is known to cause spinal fractures, it can also lead to spinal cord damage
- Spinal cord damage can lead on to bladder bowel incontinence, weakness in both lower limbs, which might require urgent surgical/ medical intervention.
- Multiple Myeloma can cause kidney damage, either by abnormal myeloma protein deposition or increased calcium levels.
- Early damage is usually asymptomatic, the only manifestation being deranged lab parameters.
- Kidney failure can lead to breathing difficulty, severe weakness or leg swelling
Is there any Treatment available?
After multiple myeloma is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss treatment options with you. The treatment options for multiple myeloma may include:
- Chemotherapy and other drugs
- Stem cell transplant
It is important to discuss all your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help you make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if you’re not sure about something.
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