Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that originates in the cells of the bone marrow that produce antibodies known as plasma cells. It is classified as a cancer of the monoclonal plasma cell, which is a type of white blood cell.
It is the most common type of cancer of the bone marrow and is responsible for approximately 1% of all cancer deaths. The exact location in the body where multiple myeloma begins is unknown, but researchers believe it originates in the bone marrow.
Generally, it is found in the flat bones of the body such as the breast bone, pelvis, spine, or skull. It can also be found in the lymph nodes, the liver, and other organs.
Table of Contents
Where is myeloma found in the body?
Myeloma is a type of cancer that is found in the bone marrow, which is a soft, spongy tissue that is located in the center of most bones. The cells of the bone marrow are responsible for producing new red and white blood cells and platelets.
Myeloma develops in the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that makes antibodies to help fight infection. In myeloma, these cells become abnormal, divide deep in the marrow, and begin to interfere with the production and function of other types of blood cells.
This can lead to a wide range of symptoms that can include frequent infections, fatigue, anemia, bone pain, and kidney problems. The location of myeloma makes it a difficult cancer to detect or treat.
Early detection is important to optimize the outcome of treatment, and fortunately newer techniques have made it easier to diagnose myeloma and monitor its progression.
Where does myeloma spread to first?
Myeloma is a type of cancer that originates in the bone marrow. It is an incurable cancer, but can often be managed for long periods of time. Myeloma typically spreads to other bones in the body first, but can also spread to other organs such as the lungs, liver, or kidneys.
It may also spread to the lymph nodes and other soft tissues. Any tissue or organ can be affected by myeloma, although the bones and other areas in the bone marrow are commonly affected. In some cases, myeloma can spread to the central nervous system and brain.
This is particularly serious and can have debilitating effects. Overall, myeloma is capable of spreading to almost any part of the body, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of myeloma, such as bone pain, fatigue, and unintended weight loss, so that treatment can begin right away.
What is usually the first symptom of multiple myeloma?
The first symptom of multiple myeloma is usually bone pain. This can manifest in different areas of the body depending on where the cancer has spread or is actively affecting the bones. Bone pain can range from a dull ache to sharp and severe and is usually worsened by physical activity.
Other early warning signs of multiple myeloma include: fatigue, weakness, frequent infections, anemia, and kidney problems. Additionally, some people may experience weight loss, constipation, and/or dizziness.
It is important to understand that everyone can vary in the type and intensity of their symptoms, so it may be difficult to determine the exact cause. Additionally, the warning signs of multiple myeloma can be attributed to other ailments.
Therefore, it is important to visit your doctor and get tested if you are experiencing any concerning symptoms or have reason to believe you may have this form of cancer.
How do you help someone with myeloma?
The most important thing you can do to help someone with myeloma is to provide emotional support and listen nonjudgmentally. It can be comforting just to have someone around who is willing to listen and understand.
Beyond that, there are also practical support methods that can help on a daily basis. For instance, offer to help with grocery shopping or other errands, if needed. You can also ask what other services the person may need – such as help with transportation to and from appointments, assistance with understanding medication information, or support with day-to-day tasks.
These small gestures not only reduce the burden of the person with myeloma, but can help give them a sense of relief to know that they have caring people in their corner.
How fast does myeloma spread?
Myeloma is a cancer that begins in the plasma cells of a person’s bone marrow. It often does not spread from one part of the body to another, but it can spread through the bloodstream and lymph nodes to other parts of the body, including the soft tissues and organs.
Myeloma does not typically spread quickly. It can take many years for the disease to progress from its earliest stages to a more advanced stage. In some cases, myeloma might be detected early through regular screenings, however, it is typically diagnosed after the cancer has already been present and growing in the body for some time.
While there is no definitive answer to this question, myeloma can spread very slowly in some cases and more rapidly in others. Risk factors associated with a faster progression of myeloma include age (over 65 years old), male gender, certain genetic variations, and pre-existing kidney problems.
In terms of treatment, there are various therapies and drugs used to manage myeloma, depending upon the stage and type of the cancer. Treatment is used to slow down or stop the development and growth of the disease, and to reduce the symptoms.
While there is no cure for the disease, treatment can extend life expectancy and reduce the chance of its spread.
What triggers myeloma?
The exact cause of myeloma is not yet known, but it is thought to start with an abnormality in a single plasma cell in the bone marrow. This abnormal cell then divides and multiplies, producing an excess of myeloma cells that can infiltrate the bones and interfere with the production of healthy blood cells.
The underlying cause of this abnormal cell division is not known, but it is believed to be related to changes in gene activity, chronic inflammation, age, and exposure to radiation or certain chemicals.
Other environmental and lifestyle factors, including genetic factors and physical factors, such as exposure to certain viruses, toxins, and heavy metals, may also play a role. It is also believed that certain lifestyle factors, such as diet, weight, exercise, and alcohol consumption, may influence the risk of developing myeloma.
Where are multiple myeloma lesions found?
Multiple myeloma lesions are most commonly found in the bones, but can also affect other organs. Myeloma often starts in the spine and pelvic bones, but can move to other bones in the body. It is also possible for lesions to form in the liver, kidneys, heart, pancreas and other organs.
In some cases, multiple myeloma can spread to the brain and spinal cord. If the myeloma cells collect in certain areas of the body, it can cause focal lesions and pain. The main goal in treating multiple myeloma is to control the disease by reducing and relieving the lesions that are causing symptoms.
Treatment options may include various types of chemotherapy, radiation, medications, and stem cell transplantation.
What are the red flags for multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow that occurs when there is an abnormal growth of plasma cells. It can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, and recognizing the warning signs is important to getting an accurate diagnosis and finding an appropriate treatment.
The most common red flags that may suggest the presence of multiple myeloma are persistent and unexplained fatigue, bone pain, anemia (low red blood cell count), excessive thirst and frequent urination, swelling in the legs, difficulty breathing, and frequent infections.
Less common symptoms may include nerve pain, dizziness, confusion, constipation, and diarrhea. Unexplained fractures, weight loss, and a bulging abdomen may also be potential warning signs.
In addition, people with multiple myeloma may also have abnormal blood results, including an elevated calcium level, low potassium and magnesium levels, abnormal protein levels, especially increased M-spike and Bence Jones proteins and abnormal serum protein electrophoresis, and decreased hemoglobin and hematocrit.
Protein spikes and/or traces of monoclonal antibodies in body fluids also indicate multiple myeloma. Other red flags include decreased blood clotting levels, kidney and liver abnormalities, and an increased sedimentation rate.
It is important to note that all of these symptoms can be caused by many different conditions and they do not necessarily indicate multiple myeloma. The only way to diagnose multiple myeloma is to undergo thorough medical testing.
If any of these red flags are present, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Does myeloma show up in blood test?
Yes, myeloma can show up in a blood test. It typically shows up as an abnormal level of a type of protein called a monoclonal immunoglobulin, or M protein. M protein is produced by the myeloma cells in the bone marrow, and higher levels may indicate the presence of the cancer.
Abnormal levels of M protein can also be seen in other conditions, so further testing is needed to determine if myeloma is present.
In addition to testing for M protein, a full blood workup can also be done to look for markers that are often associated with myeloma. This includes CBC (complete blood count) to measure red and white blood cell counts, and creatinine and liver function tests to assess the kidneys and liver.
Testing the urine for Bence Jones protein or testing for elevated levels of calcium in the blood can also be used to help diagnose myeloma.
Is multiple myeloma in the bones?
Yes, multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that can affect the bones, specifically the plasma cells in the bone marrow. It’s a cancer of the blood cells that can cause a variety of symptoms, including bone pain, fractures, increased risk of infection, anemia, and kidney damage.
The disease affects the production of normal blood cells, leading to an increased number of plasma cells, which can form tumors in the bone marrow and the bones themselves. Some common locations for these tumors are the vertebrae in the spine, the ribs, and the pelvis.
Although it is not curable, multiple myeloma can be managed with chemotherapy and other treatments, and some patients can live for many years with the disease.
Where does bone pain start with myeloma?
Bone pain associated with myeloma often starts in the lower back or ribs, though it can manifest in any area that has been affected by a tumor or destruction of the bone. The pain ranges from mild to severe and may be constant or intermittent.
Other symptoms that can accompany bone pain include fatigue, fever, anemia, and increased infections. If a person with myeloma is experiencing bone pain, it is important to have the symptoms evaluated by a doctor, as it could be an indication of an underlying bone problem or new tumor growth.
Depending on the cause of bone pain, treatment and care options are available, so it is important to speak with a doctor to discuss the best possible plan.
What is the bone strengthening treatment for myeloma?
The bone strengthening treatment for myeloma depends on the exact diagnosis of the patient, as well as their current symptoms and overall health. Generally, treatments that focus on strengthening bones affected by myeloma may involve radiation, bisphosphonates, and other medications.
Radiation therapy helps to strengthen the bones by targeting the areas of active myeloma and reducing the tumor load. Bisphosphonates can help reduce the rate of bone destruction and fractures by reducing tumor cells and helping keep the bones strong.
Additionally, supportive medications such as denosumab can be used to reduce the amount of bone breakdown. Finally, other medications such as thalidomide and lenalidomide may be used to help with bone destruction as they have been shown to reduce levels of tumor cells.
It is important to tailor treatments to each person as it depends on their current health as well as the exact diagnosis of their myeloma. Ultimately, it is important to speak to your doctor to determine which bone-strengthening treatment is most suitable for you.