Multiple myeloma: Know all about this type of bone marrow cancer

Did you know bone marrow cancer cases have been increasing in India? Read on to know all about multiple myeloma and how it affects your body.
multiple myeloma
Here are some basics about multiple myeloma. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Suhas Aagre Published: 15 Jan 2023, 13:30 pm IST
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Multiple myeloma (myeloma) is a kind of bone marrow cancer. Bone marrow is a spongy tissue located at the centre of bones, which tends to produce blood cells. Currently, the cases of myeloma are rising at a rapid rate in the country. Hence, it is the need of the hour to get myeloma detected on time and spread awareness about the disease.

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is cancer-related to plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that are responsible for making antibodies to prevent infections. In myeloma, the cells tend to grow out of control and the normal cells get crowded in the bone marrow that helps to make red blood cells, platelets, and other white blood cells. Multiple myeloma is seen in the bone marrow and can spread throughout the body.

Symptoms of multiple myeloma

A person with myeloma may not notice any symptoms initially. But, later, there are some red flags that one may start to notice. So, beware of signs and symptoms such as:

  • High levels of protein in the urine
  • Fever
  • Frequent infections
  • Bruises
  • Bleeding
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Weakness in arms and legs, and
  • Tiredness
multiple myeloma
Tiredness is one of the symptoms of multiple myeloma. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Causes of multiple myeloma

Even though the exact cause of this cancer is unknown, there are certain factors that could put you at risk of developing myeloma, such as age and if one is obese or overweight.

It is better to understand everything about this cancer as there is still a lack of awareness regarding it. Also, it is important to know your family history of this cancer. Be alert if someone in your family has it. Certain risk factors like increasing age, male sex, family history of multiple myeloma and personal history of Monoclonal Gammopathy of unknown significance increase the risk of multiple myeloma.

Also Read: Obesity can add weight to your risk of cancer. Here’s what an expert says

Diagnosis of multiple myeloma

It is essential to diagnose and treat myeloma at the right time. Doing so can help one control the disease in a better way.

Certain blood tests like complete blood count, creatinine, calcium, urine tests, PET CT, X-rays and bone marrow studies can allow the expert to detect this cancer.

bone marrow cancer
Read on to know all about the diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Image Courtesy: Freepik

Furthermore, bone marrow biopsies will help you know the percentage of normal and abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow. After detection, try to follow the guidelines given by the expert only.


The treatment of multiple myeloma consists of steroids, immunomodulators and targeted therapies. Medication and antibiotics can be prescribed by the doctor to manage any type of infection. Steroids can also be suggested to kill cancer cells and reduce inflammation.

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Chemotherapy will help deal with abnormal plasma cells, immunotherapy also attacks the cancerous cells. Another one is taking radiation therapy for tackling bone tumours.

Remember that timely intervention will help with a good prognosis of the disease. Living with this type of cancer can be challenging. It is imperative for someone with myeloma or at risk to eat a well-balanced diet, quit smoking and alcohol, rest enough, and take counselling if required to manage stress and depression. Try to clear all your doubts with the help of an expert.

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About the Author

Dr Suhas Aagre is one of the leading Consultant Medical oncologists and Haemato-Oncologist at some of the most prestigious hospitals in Mumbai, including ACI Cumballa Hill Hospital, Cancer One Clinic, Apollo Hospitals, and Hiranandani Hospital. With a rich experience of over 13 years, Dr Aagre has successfully treated thousands of patients, leading them toward a healthier life. ...Read More

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