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Homepage | Ascension

Compassionate care starts with understanding what makes you, you.

ABOUT ASCENSION

Coming together to provide personalized, compassionate care

You deserve the best care possible. Working together as Ascension, we can give you the quality care you’ve come to expect — and much more. With proven, advanced resources and a wide range of specialists, our connected nationwide network of caregivers helps make sure you’re getting the care that's right for you.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Get the care you need, with easy online scheduling

With online appointment scheduling, you choose a time that is right for you, anytime.

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map of the united states
OUR LOCATIONS

With locations across more than 20 states, odds are you’re never far from personalized, compassionate care

See all Ascension Sites of Care
doctor with patient

Great care for your everyday life starts with more than an everyday doctor

Our primary care doctors take time to understand all aspects of you and your life. That’s what helps us provide the personalized, compassionate care you deserve.

LEARN ABOUT PRIMARY CARE
Our Patients

The staff was amazing. They helped me and my family with whatever we needed.

I am referring to the nurses, doctors, and room service; everyone.

Classes and Events

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Flight for Life

“Three percent of us actually survive the type of heart attack I had. I should not be here today. I was so, so lucky.”

A woman sits at the kitchen table, ready to eat with her family. This woman’s name is Sandy, and recently her family got just a little bit bigger.

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Multiple myeloma

Definition

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that starts in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue found inside most bones. It helps make blood cells.

Plasma cells help your body fight infection by producing proteins called antibodies. With multiple myeloma, plasma cells grow out of control in the bone marrow and form tumors in the areas of solid bone. The growth of these bone tumors weakens the solid bones. It also makes it harder for the bone marrow to make healthy blood cells and platelets.

Alternative Names

Plasma cell dyscrasia; Plasma cell myeloma; Malignant plasmacytoma; Plasmacytoma of bone; Myeloma - multiple

Causes

The cause of multiple myeloma is unknown. Past treatment with radiation therapy increases the risk for this type of cancer. Multiple myeloma mainly affects older adults.

Symptoms

Multiple myeloma most commonly causes:

As the cancer cells grow in the bone marrow, you may have bone pain, most often in the ribs or back.

The cancer cells can weaken bones. As a result:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms.

Blood tests can help diagnose this disease. These tests include:

Bone x-rays may show fractures or hollowed out areas of bone. If your provider suspects this type of cancer, a bone marrow biopsy will be performed.

Bone density testing may show bone loss.

If tests show that you have multiple myeloma, more tests will be done to see how far the cancer has spread. This is called staging. Staging helps guide treatment and follow-up.

Treatment

People who have mild disease or in whom the diagnosis is not certain are usually closely monitored. Some people have a form of multiple myeloma that grows slowly (smoldering myeloma), which takes years to cause symptoms.

Various types of medicines are used to treat multiple myeloma. They are most often given to prevent complications such as bone fractures and kidney damage.

Radiation therapy may be used to relieve bone pain or to shrink a tumor that is pushing on the spinal cord.

bone marrow transplant may be recommended:

You and your provider may need to manage other concerns during your treatment, including:

Support Groups

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a cancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Outlook depends on the person's age and the stage of disease. In some cases, the disease progresses very rapidly. In other cases, it takes years for symptoms to appear.

In general, multiple myeloma is treatable, but only in rare cases can it be cured.

Possible Complications

Kidney failure is a frequent complication. Others may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have multiple myeloma and you develop an infection, or numbness, loss of movement, or loss of sensation.

References

National Cancer Institute website. PDQ plasma cell neoplasms (including multiple myeloma) treatment. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/myeloma/healthprofessional. Updated August 10, 2017. Accessed September 29, 2017.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network website. NCCN clinical practice guidelines in oncology: multiple myeloma. Version 1.2018. www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/myeloma.pdf. Updated September 15, 2017. Accessed September 29, 2017.

Rajkumar SV, Dispenzieri A. Multiple myeloma and related disorders. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 104.


Review Date: 8/14/2017
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Homepage | Ascension

Compassionate care starts with understanding what makes you, you.

ABOUT ASCENSION

Coming together to provide personalized, compassionate care

You deserve the best care possible. Working together as Ascension, we can give you the quality care you’ve come to expect — and much more. With proven, advanced resources and a wide range of specialists, our connected nationwide network of caregivers helps make sure you’re getting the care that's right for you.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Get the care you need, with easy online scheduling

With online appointment scheduling, you choose a time that is right for you, anytime.

SCHEDULE NOW

map of the united states
OUR LOCATIONS

With locations across more than 20 states, odds are you’re never far from personalized, compassionate care

See all Ascension Sites of Care
doctor with patient

Great care for your everyday life starts with more than an everyday doctor

Our primary care doctors take time to understand all aspects of you and your life. That’s what helps us provide the personalized, compassionate care you deserve.

LEARN ABOUT PRIMARY CARE
Our Patients

The staff was amazing. They helped me and my family with whatever we needed.

I am referring to the nurses, doctors, and room service; everyone.

Classes and Events

Find educational classes, special community events and support groups near you.

Find a Class or Event

Flight for Life

“Three percent of us actually survive the type of heart attack I had. I should not be here today. I was so, so lucky.”

A woman sits at the kitchen table, ready to eat with her family. This woman’s name is Sandy, and recently her family got just a little bit bigger.

Go to Story