Multiple Myeloma is a cancer that attacks the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are one of the types of white blood cells that serve to form antibodies. This cancer is generally characterized by pain in the bones.
Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer. This condition occurs when abnormal plasma cells grow and develop excessively, and interfere with the surrounding healthy cells.
These cancer cells also produce abnormal antibodies. In addition to not being able to function to protect the body, buildup of abnormal antibodies can damage certain organs, such as kidneys.
Causes of Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma occurs when the abnormal plasma cells (myeloma) in the bone marrow grow and develop very rapidly, as well as damage healthy cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and blood pieces, which are in the vicinity.
Under normal circumstances, plasma cells will produce antibodies that function to protect the body (protein M). When plasma cells become myeloma, the antibodies are produced not working properly. Protein M eventually accumulates and destroys several organs, such as the kidneys, bones, and nervous system.
The cause of multiple myeloma is not known for certain. However, this condition is often associated with MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance). Approximately 1 in 100 people suffering from MGUS are expected to experience multiple myeloma.
There are several risk factors that make a person more likely to experience multiple myeloma, among others:
- Male gender
- Over 60 years old
- Have a family with a history of multiple myeloma or MGUS
- Experiencing excess weight or obesity
- Has a history of radiation exposure, such as radiotherapy
- Experiencing immune system disorders
- Have a history of exposure or contact with chemicals, e.g. On oil workers.
Multiple Myeloma Signs
Signs and symptoms that arise in a person who is experiencing multiple myeloma is quite varied. In the early stages of the disease, the symptoms were not particularly noticeable.
Some of the signs and symptoms that can occur in multiple myeloma are:
- Bone pain, especially on the spine or ribs
- Decreased appetite
- A sense of confusion
- Recurrent infections
- Weight loss
- Weakness or numbness in the limbs
- Excessive thirst.
Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma
In some cases, the doctor can detect the presence of multiple myeloma by accident when conducting a blood test for another condition. In some cases, doctors can suspect multiple myeloma based on the signs and symptoms experienced.
Tests that can be done to diagnose multiple myeloma include:
Laboratory analysis can indicate the presence of M proteins produced by the myeloma cells. Another abnormal protein produced by the myeloma cells, referred to as beta-2-microglobulin, it can be detected in the blood.
The presence of this abnormal protein can give the doctor a clue about the myeloma aggressiveness. In addition, blood screening can be performed to evaluate kidney function, blood cell count, calcium level, and uric acid levels to instruct the doctor to prescribe a diagnosis.
Urine screening can show M proteins, which are also referred to as Bence Jones proteins when detected in urine.
Bone marrow examination.
The doctor can take samples from the bone Marrow for laboratory examination. Sampling is carried out using a long needle inserted into the bone, which is called the aspiration of bone marrow.
Further, in the laboratory, there will be a test to see the myeloma cells. In addition, the examination is also done to measure the velocity of the Myeloma cell division.
Imaging checks can be recommended to detect bone problems associated with multiple myeloma. Inspections may include X-ray photographs, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT), or Positron Emission Tomography (PET).