Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that starts in white blood cells called plasma cells, which help your body fight infections. Mutations occur when the genetic material in plasma cells changes, causing plasma cells to become problematic myeloma cells. As myeloma cells multiply, they crowd out normal blood cells inside bone marrow, and that is when symptoms can appear. Multiple myeloma is a relatively uncommon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 132 (0.76%). The ACS reports that the 2019 estimates are about 32,110 new cases have been diagnosed (18,130 in men and 13,980 in women) and about 12,960 deaths have occurred (6,990 in men and 5,970 in women).
With multiple myeloma, the overgrowth of plasma cells in the bone marrow can crowd out normal blood-forming cells, leading to low blood counts, which may cause:
– a shortage of red blood cells, which may lead to feeling weak and fatigued.
– a shortage of white blood cells, which may lead to problems fighting infections.
– the level of platelets in the blood to become low, which may lead to increased bleeding and bruising.
Factors that may increase your risk of multiple myeloma include:
– Increasing age – Your risk of multiple myeloma increases as you age, with most people diagnosed in their mid-60s.
– Gender: Men are more likely to develop the disease than are women.
– Race: African Americans are about twice as likely to develop multiple myeloma as are white people.
– Family history of multiple myeloma.
– Personal history of a monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).
How Our Team Treats Multiple Myeloma
Chemotherapy can effectively slow the progress of multiple myeloma by destroying the cancerous cells. Multiple myeloma can significantly weaken bones and cause them to break. Biophosphonates help to prevent further bone damage.
Radiation therapy for multiple myeloma may be used to shrink and/or destroy tumors and to alleviate pain in areas of bone that have not responded to chemotherapy. An External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) delivery device is used to precisely target the tumor site with a high-energy x-ray beam. Treatments are painless and require no sedation.
Alliance Cancer Care Arizona’s Advantage
Speak with one of our dedicated Team Member about how we can help today.