Multiple Myeloma Cancer
A type of cancer that begins in plasma cells, multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects about 15,000 Americans each year. The disease is called "multiple myeloma" because it affects many bones. If myeloma cells collect in only one bone, the single mass is called a plasmacytoma.
Some of the common symptoms of multiple myeloma include:
- Bone pain, often in the back or ribs
- Bones that break easily
- Fever for no known reason
- Frequent infections
- Easy bruising or bleeding.
In some cases, however, a person with multiple myeloma will not have any symptoms.
The exact cause of this disease is unknown. However, certain people have a higher risk for developing multiple myeloma. Some of the risk factors include:
- Growing older (risk increases with age)
- Being African American
- Having a personal history of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).
It should be noted that multiple myeloma is not bone cancer, even though it does affect the bones. The condition begins in blood cells, not bone cells.
(To learn more about this type of cancer, including how your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis, click Multiple Myeloma.)