Multiple myeloma is the type of cancer that causes damage to the plasma cells, which are WBCs found in the bone marrow. The job of plasma cells is to manufacture the antibodies which help the body resist and fight infections and diseases.
The condition occurs due to the development of an abnormal plasma cell inside the bone marrow, which reproduces very quickly. Due to the rapid multiplication of the cancerous cells, the myeloma cells exceed the healthy ones and start accumulating inside the bone marrow, while outweighing the healthy RBCs and WBCs. These cancerous cells also manufacture abnormal antibodies or the M-proteins, which are very harmful to the body and cause damage to the kidney. You can get more info about multiple myeloma by referring to the blogs by famous oncologists.
A doctor from one of the best cancer treatment hospital in Kolkata said that two persons suffering from multiple myeloma might show different symptoms, which implies that the symptoms vary on a case to case basis. However, as the disease goes into the advanced stage, some general symptoms are visible. Those general symptoms are classified under the acronym CRAB:
● Calcium Levels: High calcium levels are a primary symptom because of the leaking of calcium from the bones, which causes thirst, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and loss of appetite.
● Anemia: It is a condition when there’s a sharp decline in the level of healthy RBCs in the blood, and hence the oxygen transportation gets hampered. Anemia has its own set of symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and irritability.
● Bone Damage: When the cancerous cells finally invade the bone marrow, bone damage starts occurring. Such damages are visible in the forms of holes in the X-Ray images. They are prevalent in the backbone, pelvis bone, ribcage, and the skull.
● Renal Failure: As mentioned earlier, a high level of abnormal antibodies or the M-protein leads to kidney failure.
How is multiple myeloma diagnosed?
Multiple myeloma isn’t very difficult to diagnose or detect as its symptoms are also visible in the routine tests such as urine and blood tests. If your doctor suspects something fishy, he will surely ask you to go for the additional tests to determine the presence of multiple myeloma.
Detailed tests for multiple myeloma
● Blood and urine tests: These tests primarily detect the presence of the M-proteins in the blood. Along with the M-protein, they also check for beta-2 microglobulin.
● Imaging tests: As mentioned earlier, bone damage leads to holes in the bones of the back, pelvic area, skull, and ribs. Imaging tests determine the presence of such holes in the bones.
● Biopsy: Biopsy involves the collection of bone marrow samples using a long needle, and once it is removed, the doctors analyze it to check for any cancerous cells. This test establishes the presence of multiple myeloma.
There are multiple methods of treating the disease, and doctors decide it after considering the health parameters. The first method is by targeted therapy, in which the medicines block the chemicals in the myeloma cells and prevent its growth. Another one is the biological therapy in which the immunity enhancement pills help the body in building up resistance against the myeloma cells. Next is the chemotherapy, in which drugs are given to kill the fast-growing cells, generally administered before stem cell replacement. There is the best cancer treatment hospital in Kolkata which has the stem cell transplant surgery available. Immunotherapy is another excellent option that can be availed in conjunction with other treatments.
Apart from these, there are corticosteroids, which is again a drug therapy and the radiation therapies, which use energy beams to destroy the cells. Lastly, doctors opt for a stem cell transplant to replace the diseased bone marrow with a healthy one.