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Multiple Myeloma Stage

Once a person has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the stage, or extent, of the cancer needs to be determined. It's important to know the multiple myeloma stage in order to plan treatment of the disease. There are three stages used to describe cases of multiple myeloma: stage I, stage II, and stage III. The higher the stage number, the higher the number of myeloma cells in the blood.

Multiple Myeloma Stage: An Overview

If a multiple myeloma diagnosis is made, the doctor will need to determine the multiple myeloma stage, or extent, of the disease in order to plan treatment of the cancer. Multiple myeloma staging is an attempt to find out the size of the tumor, whether the disease has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.
 

Multiple Myeloma Stage: Staging Tests

Tests and procedures that may be used to determine the multiple myeloma stage include:
 
  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Bone densitometry.
 
Some of these tests may be repeated to see how well the multiple myeloma treatment is working.
 
X-rays
An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
 
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI is a procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body such as the bone marrow. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
 
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
A CT scan is a procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. A computer linked to an x-ray machine creates these pictures. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computerized tomography or computerized axial tomography (CAT).
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