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Multiple myeloma: symptoms, treatment and life expectancy

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Thanks to modern medicine, many conditions and diseases have been differentiated in detail, and specific causes and modes of treatment for most of them have been discovered. One of the types of disease that continues to concern the scientific and general community the most are those related to cancer.

Most of the population tends to associate cancer with solid tumors. However, it is essential to remember that there are also hematological neoplasms, a variety of cancer-related to the cells that make up the blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. One of these neoplasms is multiple myeloma. At FastlyHealwe describe multiple myeloma: symptoms, treatment, and life expectancy.

Multiple myeloma: definition and classification

Multiple myeloma or malignant plasmacytoma is a disease included among neoplasms or cancer. There is evidence of abnormal and accelerated reproduction of cells, creating irregular masses of tissues or an excessive number of abnormal cells. Among the classifications within neoplasms, with multiple myeloma, we refer to a variety of blood neoplasms, specifically the category of leukemias, which includes those cancers in which abnormal cell reproduction occurs in the bone marrow ( inside the bones). The other type of blood cancer would be lymphomas, originating in the lymph nodes.

In multiple myeloma, we are faced with a condition of the plasma cells, which are those responsible for producing immunoglobulins (Ig) or antibodies that are part of the immune system. There are different types of Ig, and in multiple myeloma, there is an unbalanced production of Ig caused by the reproduction of abnormal plasma cells.

Multiple myeloma is the most common form of leukemia and the second among blood cancers after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and by 2016 the group of leukemias ranked among the ten most frequent types of cancer both in Spain and in the United States.

Multiple myeloma: symptoms


Multiple myeloma is confirmed through 24-hour blood and urine laboratory tests, finding these abnormal immunoglobulins in large numbers. In hematology, altered levels of red blood cells and other white blood cells could also be found. In addition, the following clinical manifestations could be observed :

  • Hematomas without blows or traumas justify them, and the patient complains that they are frequent.
  • Hypercalcemia: high concentrations of calcium in the blood.
  • Development of antibodies against coagulation factor VIII, preventing proper blood clotting.
  • Enlargement of organs such as the liver, spleen, and heart.

Additionally, punctures can be performed to analyze the bone marrow and a complete X-ray to find all the bones that may be affected, the most frequent being the sternum, ribs, skull, and vertebrae.

Symptoms and complications

  • The most frequent symptom in patients with this disease is severe bone pain, as this neoplasm begins within them.
  • Osteoporosis and osteolysis (when a bone wears down and mass decreases).
  • Bone fractures
  • Anemia and tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Accessible and frequent bleeding in the gums and nose.
  • Renal insufficiency.
  • Increase in the frequency of infections.
  • Neurological compressions that cause pain or limitations in movement.

Multiple myeloma symptoms can take years to appear from the beginning of the disease.

Multiple myeloma: treatment

Currently, multiple myeloma is controlled with chemotherapy, reducing, in turn, the progression and proliferation of abnormal cells, and their success and selection will depend on the degree of progression of the disease, as well as the age, complications, and individual characteristics of the disease. Person. The patient should be under continuous medical supervision, even when the treatment has managed to reduce or eradicate the neoplasm.

In the case of very little advanced or asymptomatic myeloma, these treatments are not applied. Still, continuous supervision by the specialist, trying to prevent the progression of the disease through eating and lifestyle habits and medications that the specialist prescribes.

The only safe alternative known so far is bone marrow transplantation, which is performed by transplanting stem cells to achieve a cure for this disease. The preferable and safest thing is to use stem cells from the same patient. Otherwise, an allogeneic marrow transplant (from another person) can be performed. Still, it does not offer the same chance of cure, and they must be careful with the compatibility of these cells with the recipient patient’s marrow.

X-rays are also applied to remove solid tumors that may be causing neurological compressions and severe pain, mainly when they are located in the spine.

Multiple myeloma: life expectancy

The prognoses of malignant plasmacytoma are very varied since each individual can have different conditions that vary their outcome. A person can present with this disease for years without any symptoms or apparent effects on their quality of life, and with myeloma controlled in time, they can live for many years.

In cases of very aggressive or uncontrolled myelomas, life expectancy hardly exceeds two years. In the case of a marrow transplant, the subject is supposed to be cured but must be constantly seen and taken care of his habits since the marrow of other bones could be altered with time.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Multiple myeloma: symptoms, treatment and life expectancy, we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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