Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that affects the plasma cells. In multiple myeloma, malignant plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, crowding out the normal plasma cells that help fight infections. These malignant plasma cells then produce abnormal proteins (m protein) which may cause tumors, damage the kidneys, and impair immune system function. In some cases, the malignant cells may cause a single tumor, called a solitary plasmacytoma, but if multiple tumors are formed, then the disease is called multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, and although it is considered incurable, it is very much a treatable disease thanks to recent advancements in cancer research. Historically, there was little hope for multiple myeloma patients, because multiple myeloma treatment options were incredibly limited. The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), however, has revolutionized the way multiple myeloma is treated, substantially improving the life expectancy of multiple myeloma patients. Since its inception, the MMRF has helped introduce seven new drugs and through the power of new technology, genomics, and immunology, lives are now being saved.
Multiple myeloma symptoms vary by patient as well as the stage of the disease. There are often no symptoms in the early stages of myeloma. Even when present, multiple myeloma symptoms may be vague or similar to those of other conditions.
Learn what myeloma symptoms
to look for.
To date, the cause of multiple myeloma has not yet been identified. While research suggests possible associations with certain conditions, most cases of multiple myeloma develop in individuals who have no known risk factors.LEARN MORE
Multiple myeloma is diagnosed through a series of tests including blood tests, urine tests, and bone marrow tests. Having all the appropriate diagnostic tests done is very important, as the results will help your doctor better determine treatment options and a prognosis. Many of these tests are also used to assess the extent of the disease and to plan and monitor treatment.LEARN MORE