Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma is when the plasma cells, found in the bone marrow that are an important part of the immune system, become Cancerous and grow out of control. While uncommon, around 150,000 cases were diagnosed in 2018 globally. Symptoms include recurrent chest infections, tiredness fatigue, fever, bone pain, swollen ankles, weight loss, nausea and constipation. Treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy steroids, biological therapy and stem cell transplant. Get verified second opinions from OncoConnect’s curated list of international Oncologists.

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system. In general, when plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, it is called multiple myeloma. It is not very common but around 150,000 cases were diagnosed in 2018 globally.

Symptoms usually include recurrent chest infections, tiredness fatigue, fever, bone pain, swollen ankles, weight loss, nausea, and constipation. Factors that increase the chances of getting multiple myeloma include family history, body weight, gender, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and past exposure to radiation.

Once multiple myeloma has been diagnosed, doctors will determine the stage of cancer and whether or not it is metastatic; based on which doctors would be able to devise a treatment plan. Treatments include chemotherapy, radiotherapy steroids, biological therapy, and stem cell transplant.

To know more about multiple myeloma you can refer to our Multiple Myeloma Guide

screening

No major professional organisations currently recommend any routine screening of the general public for multiple myeloma.

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Cancer Treatment

treatment

Chemotherapy: This is given by administrating drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA) or via intra – peritoneal (IP) injections to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can last up to many weeks.

Radiotherapy: This is performed by directing radiation beams at the targeted area, and like chemotherapy this treatment usually requires multiple sessions which are performed over a series of weeks.

Biological Therapies: These are drugs that change the way calls work and help the body control the growth of cancer. Some seek out and Destry cancer cells, whereas others help the body to attack the cancer.

Steroids: Steroids are naturally made by our body in small amounts They help to control many functions But steroids can also me bade artificially and used as drugs to treat different diseases, including cancer.

Stem Cell Transplant: This is commonly used to treat multiple myeloma. When stem cell transplants were first discovered, the new stem cells came from  the bone marrow and so this was known as Bone Marrow Transplant. Now, stem cells are often collected from the blood stream and hence called Stem Cell Transplant. Stem Cell Transplant can either be autologous or allogenic.

Before the transplant high-dose chemotherapy is used to kill the cells in the bone marrow. Then the patient receives new, healthy blood-forming stem cells.

Treatments are often used in combination with each other, particularly is the cancer is advanced and surgery is being performed. Chemotherapy may often be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery.

You may experience vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fatigue & body pain during treatment. Please do not hesitate to discuss this further with your doctor, for more information on the management of any symptoms.

 

recovery

Recovery would depend upon treatment of choice, as stem cell transplant may require longer duration of recovery.

Patients need to ensure appropriate rest during recovery period. If there is pain and discomfort then please speak to your doctor for its management.

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length of stay

Hospital Stay:     3-7 days

Total Stay:           Depending upon treatment the length of stay can wary from 2 weeks to a few months

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