What is multiple myeloma?Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that originates from the uncontrolled division of a type of white blood cells called plasma cells. Plasma cells are the mature B lymphocytes; these cells form antibodies and help to fight against foreign bodies and disease-causing agents such as bacteria and viruses. It is a condition in which excessive immature cells produce and accumulate in the bone marrow which produces abnormal proteins instead of antibodies. These abnormal proteins cause complications.
Disease CausesThere is no well-known cause, however certain hereditary and genetic factors are considered responsible for the development of multiple myeloma. Risk factors that can cause multiple myeloma are obesity, previous exposure to certain radiations or radiation therapy, multiple myeloma is any close family member, and exposure to certain chemicals.
Disease EpidemiologyIt usually occurs in old age after the 4th decade of life, and the peak incidence of the disease is 60 or above 60 years. It is more common in men than women. The five-year survival rate after treatment is 54%. In 2015, it affected more than 488,000 people worldwide.
Signs and symptomsThe patient may suffer from the following sign and symptoms. These are
- Pain in the affected bone in case of tumor of the bone particularly in the spinal cord or chest bones
- Bone fracture
- Constant Fatigue (feeling of tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Repeated infections
- Weakness or numbness in the legs
- Excessive thirst
- Mental confusion
- Pain or numbness in the thumb, index, and middle finger
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic techniques and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Protein electrophoresis
- Serum calcium levels
- Renal function test (RFT’s)
- Imaging techniques like USG, CT-scan, PET-scan, MRI, and X-ray.
- Bone marrow and affected tissue biopsy.