As in any other cancer, Multiple Myeloma cancer is caused by an excessive multiplication of cells. In this particular cancer, however, it due to the multiplication of a kind of white blood cells called plasma.
White blood cells are the soldiers of our body that fights infection but when they multiply unusually and without control. The excessive protein formed enters the bones and blood. They get accumulated in the entire body and causes damage to the organs.
These growing plasma cells also horde the common healthy cells and trigger other cells to dissolve the bones. These dissolved parts of the bones, which become weak, are called lytic lesions.
When the overgrowth of these plasma cells continue, there comes a point when they reach out of the bone marrow and spread to more parts of the body, causing further organ damage.
There are increased risks of developing Multiple Myeloma Cancer if you are more than 65 years of age or has a family member who already has it.
Relatively, Men are at a slightly greater risk of developing Multiple Myeloma than women. Also, people who are obese also possess a greater risk of developing it as compared to their thinner counterparts.
People with some plasma diseases also have a greater risk of developing Multiple Myeloma Cancer like Monoclonal Gammopathy of undetermined significance or Solitary Plasmacytoma.
Multiple Myeloma Symptoms
It is always wise to be able to recognise a disease, especially cancer, before hand. So, here are the Multiple Myeloma Symptoms you should be aware of.
Low blood counts : Overgrowth of Plasma cells crowd the normal healthy cells.
It will cause,
- Anaemia, if the number of red blood cells decrease which causes weakness in the body, inability to exercise properly and shortness of breath and dizziness.
- Leukopenia, if the number of white blood cells decrease which causes a reduced immunity against infections.
- Thrombocytopenia, if the number of blood platelets decreases which causes heavy bleeding even for a small cut or bruise.
Bone and Calcium problems : The older bone cells dissolve faster than the new ones that are being created, thus making the bones weaker.
It will cause,
- Pain in the bones, most probably in the back, hips or skull.
- Weakened bones, either at the location of the cancer or throughout.
- Fractures due to a little pressure or stress.
Infections : The plasma can no longer fight bacteria due to Multiple Myeloma, hence the infections can be more frequent.
Kidney Problems : The unhealthy plasma cells can cause serious damage to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure too.
The failing kidneys could be identified by the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Leg Swelling
Light Chain Amyloidosis : Antibodies are made of light chains and abnormal plasma can overgrow these light chains in the tissues. This leads to enlargement of organs causing them not to function properly.
The symptoms in this condition is similar to Multiple Myeloma symptoms but it also has the following signs:
- Irregular heartbeat due to an enlarged heart, which gets weaker.
- Enlarged Liver and Spleen which make the stomach to compress a little causing the patients to feel full.
- Enlarged tongue which can cause problems in swallowing and breathing.
- Skin colour or texture may change, easy bruises and bleeding.
Once Multiple Myeloma is diagnosed, it is only wise that you seek the best oncologist in the city (i.e best cancer specialist).
An oncologist will then discuss all the treatment options that your case has. It could be something from the list below:
- Stem cell transplant
Be sure of the treatment that you wish to take considering all the procedures of the treatments and possible side effects.