Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis
In most cases, making a diagnosis of multiple myeloma begins with a physical exam and questions about the patient's personal and family medical history. The doctor will then usually recommend tests and procedures to confirm the diagnosis. Tests and procedures that may be used to make a diagnosis include blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, and a biopsy.
In some cases, a multiple myeloma diagnosis will be made using a routine blood test after an x-ray for a broken bone. However, in most cases, it will be diagnosed after a patient goes to his or her doctor for relief from symptoms of the disease. If a person has possible multiple myeloma symptoms, the doctor will most likely need to perform a physical exam and ask about the patient's personal and family medical history. In order to make a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, the doctor will also usually recommend additional tests and procedures.
Tests and procedures that may be used include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
After blood is taken, the lab will check the level of blood cells and other substances. Myeloma causes a high level of plasma cells, calcium, and certain proteins and in some cases, anemia. The lab will check for M protein, beta-2-microglobulin, and other proteins.
After urine has been taken, the lab will check the sample for Bence Jones protein, which is a type of M protein in urine. The lab will measure the amount of Bence Jones protein in the urine collected over a 24-hour period. If the lab finds a high level of Bence Jones protein in the urine sample, doctors will need to monitor the patient's kidneys because Bence Jones protein can clog the kidneys and damage them.