Multiple Myeloma is a form of bone marrow cancer.
Bone marrow is a semi-solid tissue which is found in the centre of some bones. It produces the body’s blood cells. When you get Multiple Myeloma affects the plasma cells which are a type of blood cell. These cells are found in the bone marrow. Unlike other types of cancer, it doesn’t take the form of a tumour or a lump. Instead, the cells divide themselves inside the bone marrow which damages the bones and affects the production of healthy blood cells.
Myeloma will often affect the spine, skull, pelvis or ribs but it can affect many places – hence the name multiple myeloma.
Signs and symptoms
During the early stages, multiple Myeloma symptoms will be different for each patient however normally the cancer won’t really show any major symptoms or signs. It’s usually only discovered by a routine blood or urine test.
As your cancer progresses, you will start to notice a wide range of symptoms, including:
- You might feel a constant ache
- Bones break easier and you will bruise easier too
- An increase in thirst
- Peeing more often or less often
- Tired and Weaker
- Prone to more infections
- Nosebleeds, bleeding gums and heavier periods
When to see your GP
If you experience any of the symptoms I’ve mentioned it would be a good idea to go and see your GP as soon as possible. It could be something completely different or nothing at all but it’s a good idea to get them diagnosed properly. More often than not its unlikely to be caused by cancer.
Your GP will try and arrange a blood and/or urine test as soon as possible to determine your diagnosis. They’ll be looking for abnormal proteins that get produced by Myeloma cells. If Myeloma is suspected you’ll be referred to a specialist.
Who is affected?
Multiple Myeloma is quite an uncommon type of cancer. It’s not really known what exactly causes the condition but black people, men and adults over the age of 60 are more prone to getting the cancer.
How multiple myeloma is treated
There’s not really a cure for Multiple Myeloma, however, your doctor can control the symptoms and slow down the progress for a few years. There are multiple treatment options that can reduce the speed at which the cancer will progress. An example of some of these would be Chemotherapy, Bisphosphonates, Radiation and Surgery.
It’s really important to talk through all your options with your doctor. Talk about the side effects, the treatment process etc to ensure you get all the information and the proper treatment. Sometimes you might find it worthwhile to getting a second opinion. Places like The Loc in London are very experienced and could be worthwhile visiting for their view on treatment. There are lots of different methods out there and every doctor will have a different opinion or may not have mentioned certains treatments to you. Some places might know different treatments that can relieve some symptoms or know natural remedies you could try. It’s important to discuss other avenues you’re looking at with your doctor.