MENU

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a rare, incurable blood cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which originates in the bone marrow.3,4 Plasma cells produce antibodies that help fight infection.4

Cancerous plasma cells are known as multiple myeloma cells.4 They create abnormal antibodies, called M proteins, which offer no benefit to the body.5 As multiple myeloma cells multiply they crowd out normal plasma cells, which can lead to a number of signs and symptoms.5

What are the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma symptoms can vary from person to person. Some patients experience no symptoms at all. Others may experience some of the following symptoms:5,6

What factors might increase the chances of someone developing multiple myeloma?

Age

Though it can be diagnosed in younger people, multiple myeloma is most common in people between the ages of 65-74.

Gender

Multiple myeloma is slightly more common in men than in women. Approximately 53 percent of new cases diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018 will be in men.

Race

African Americans are more than twice as likely to develop multiple myeloma as white Americans. The reason is unknown.

Family History

A person with a sibling or parent with multiple myeloma is more likely to develop the disease than someone who does not have family history. However, this only accounts for a small percentage of diagnoses.

What can I expect following diagnosis?

Following diagnosis, your physician will assess whether or not you need to begin treatment. If you are not exhibiting symptoms of multiple myeloma, you may not need to begin therapy. However, if you do require treatment, your physician will work with you to find the best treatment option to try to get you into remission, which is a decrease or disappearance of signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma.8

Unfortunately, the disease returns in nearly all patients.9 This is known as a relapse and multiple myeloma is often characterized by recurring cycles of relapse and remission.10 For this reason, patients with multiple myeloma often need several different combinations of therapies during their journey with the disease.11

Find out more about managing multiple myelomaBegin creating your Myeloma MVP,
your Most Valuable Plan for management

Where can I find out more about multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a very individualized disease. For that reason, your oncologist will be able to provide you information best suited for your needs.5 There are also many helpful independent non-profit organizations and resources that can provide more background information on multiple myeloma.