Multiple myeloma (also known as MM, myeloma, plasma cell myeloma, or as Kahler’s disease after Otto Kahler) is a type of cancer of plasma cells which are immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Its prognosis, despite therapy, is generally poor, and treatment may involve chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. It is part of the broad group of diseases called hematological malignancies.
Accordingly, in the USA 15,980 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2005. At present there are more than 50,000 people in the United States living with multiple myeloma.
Causes of Myeloma
Although the causes of myeloma are unknown, research is going on all the time into the possible causes of the disease. Myeloma, like other cancers, is not infectious and cannot be passed on to other people. Several factors have been linked to myeloma, including genetic abnormalities, exposures to certain chemicals and other conditions in the workplace (petrochemical industry workers, leather workers, book binders, cosmetologists, shipyard workers, metallurgic industry workers), exposure to very large doses of radiatio
Symptoms of Myeloma
Some Symptoms of Myeloma :
Nausea or constipation
Increased susceptibility to infection
Feeling very thirsty
Bone or back pain
Symptoms of anemia (such as tiredness, shortness of breath, and fatigue)
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. But remember, many of these symptoms can occur in other conditions. Most people with the above symptoms will not have myeloma.
Occasionally myeloma will be picked up from a routine blood test, when the person has no symptoms.
Treatment of Myeloma
Some people with cancer use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to ease stress or to reduce side effects and symptoms:
* An approach is generally called complementary medicine when it is used along with standard treatment.
* An approach is called alternative medicine when it is used instead of standard treatment.
Acupuncture, massage therapy, herbal products, vitamins or special diets, visualization, meditation
Because standard treatment may not control myeloma, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are research studies of new treatment methods. The section on “The Promise of Cancer Research” has more information about clinical trials.