Multiple myeloma, aka plasma cell myeloma, is a type of blood cancer, marked by an over production of abnormal plasma (myeloma) cells. Plasma cells are bone marrow generated, immune system supporting white blood cells.
The business of a healthy plasma cell is to manufacture and release infection specific antibodies designed to attack and destroy that particular disease instigating bacteria, virus or toxin. In contrast, myeloma cells excessively produce protein antibodies that are not infection specific.
Thus, myeloma cells are of little help to your immune system’s infection protection program.
Over time, myeloma cells divide within your bone marrow, crowding out your healthy plasma blood cells and interfering with normal red, white and platelet production. As a result of overcrowding and excessive protein production (to which your kidneys launches a gallant effort to rid your body of) you may experience symptoms of:
- weight loss
- persistent fever
- frequent urination
- muscle weakness
- excessive bleeding
- repeated infections
Other issues stemming from “out of control” myeloma are the creation of bone marrow tumors and its cells collecting in the solid portion of your bones.
A single mass affecting one bone is a plasmacytoma. Should this form of blood cancer affect multiple bones it is referred to as “multiple myeloma”
Myeloma cells make a substance that speeds up your bone dissolving process, causing weak bones. A common early symptom of multiple myeloma is bone pain in your ribs, hips or lower back. And myeloma induced bone breakdown escalation can cause you to endure hypercalcemia as well.
You may also experience frequent broken or fractured rib, hip, back bones. Your weakened bones can impinge on surrounding nerves, producing:
Your bones in your extremities are not typically part of multiple myeloma bone breaking consequence.
Although multiple myeloma alters your bones, it is not a form of bone cancer.
The coldest reality of multiple myeloma’s bone pain is that it is presently hard to cure. Treatment for your cancer caused weak bones may involve:
In addition to your myeloma blood cancer treatment, you’ll likely need to have its health repercussions treated too, such as:
Active treatment may not be necessary if:
- no symptoms
- no organ damage
- myeloma cells are building up very slowly
If you have multiple myeloma, you must keep moving. Exercise keeps calcium hanging out in your bones instead of your blood. Also, a balanced diet and plenty of fluids are imperative to maintain your strength.
Because myeloma is a rare cancer, there are a limited number of practitioners and centers specializing in this disease. Do your homework.