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Multiple Myeloma - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Last Updated: Nov 14, 2022

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer that takes place in a plasma cell, a type of white blood cell. The main function of plasma cells is to make antibodies that have the ability of recognition of germs and attacks them. Plasma cells hence aid in fighting infections. When a person has multiple myeloma cancer cells tend to build up in the bone marrow. They soon outnumber healthy blood cells. The cancerous cells begin to produce proteins which result in kidney problems instead of producing antibodies. Multiple myeloma does not always require treatment. In the absence of signs and symptoms treatment is not necessary most of the times.

Multiple Myeloma Treatment

There is an absence of any cures for multiple myeloma but treatment may result in the resumption of almost normal life. Some standard treatments are:

  • Targeted Therapy- Drug treatment has a focus on particular peculiar properties of cancerous cells which allow them to survive. Drugs like bortezomib and carfilzomib initiate results that cause myeloma cells to die.
  • Biological Therapy- Biological therapy uses the immune system of the body in order to fight the cancerous cells. Drugs like lenalidomide, thalidomide and pomalidomide boost the immune system of a particular person. The immune system then identifies and attacks the cancerous cells.
  • Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy drugs destroy cells that are growing too fast including the myeloma cells. Chemotherapy is administered in high doses before transplants of stem cells.
  • Corticosteroids- Dexamethasone and prednisone are some corticosteroids that control body inflammation through the regulation of the immune system. They also attack myeloma cells.
  • Stem cell transplantation- In this procedure diseased bone marrow is replaced by a healthy one. Before the procedure stem cells that form blood are gathered from a person’s blood. Then a person is exposed to chemotherapy in high doses so that the diseased bone marrow is destroyed. Then stem cells are introduced into the patient’s body where they eventually land up in the bones and the bone marrow is built afresh.
  • Radiation Therapy- In radiation therapy, a patient is exposed to energy beams like X-rays with the end of damaging myeloma cells and stunting their growth. Radiation therapy is often put into use to shrink myeloma cells in a particular region of the body. One such example is a tumor medically called a plasmacytoma, formed by abnormal plasma cells. Such tumors may cause immense pain and even may destroy bones.


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Written ByDr. Rlv Phani Kumar Diploma in Diabetes,MD,MBBSInternal Medicine
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