Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

What is myeloma bone disease?

Myeloma bone disease is cancer that affects certain white blood cells called plasma cells. It represents about 1 percent of all cancers in the United States, and about four to five out of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with it each year.

Plasma cells, and other white blood cells, are part of the immune system. Plasma cells produce antibodies--immune system proteins that assist the body in ridding itself of harmful substances. Each plasma cell responds to one specific substance by producing one kind of antibody. The body has many types of plasma cells, and, therefore, can respond to many types of substances.

When cancer occurs, the body overproduces plasma cells, which are abnormal and alike. These abnormal plasma cells are called myeloma cells.

Myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow and the outer layer of the bone. Because the cells begin in the blood plasma, myeloma is not a bone cancer, but is cancer that affects bones.

What causes myeloma bone disease?

The exact cause of myeloma bone disease is not known, but theories and associations have been suggested as risk factors.

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is anything that may increase a person's chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases have different risk factors.

Although these factors can increase a person's risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop the disease, while others develop the disease and have no known risk factors.

But, knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

What are the risk factors for myeloma bone disease?

Suggested risk factors for myeloma bone disease include the following:

What are the symptoms of myeloma bone disease?

The following are the most common symptoms for myeloma bone disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Myeloma cells and antibodies may cause the following:

The symptoms of myeloma bone disease may resemble other bone disorders or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is myeloma bone disease diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for myeloma bone disease may include the following:

Treatment for myeloma bone disease:

Specific treatment for myeloma bone disease will be determined by your physician based on:

Treatment may include:

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Online Resources of Bone Disorders


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