Whether you are suffering from multiple myeloma yourself, or you have a family member or friend who was recently diagnosed with the cancer, you might find you have a lot of unanswered questions. As with all types of cancer, there are still a lot of unknowns, and you may feel like things are spiraling out of control. However, take heart in the fact that the medical community has come a long way. With the proper diagnosis of symptoms and application of treatment, you can regain a healthy lifestyle that will help you (or your loved one) get the most out of life.
What is Multiple Myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is caused when plasma cells grow uncontrollably. This growth in the bone marrow forms tumors where you should have solid bone, which weakens your bone structure. In addition, the tumors make things difficult for your bone marrow, which cannot produce as many healthy blood cells or platelets. Usually this type of cancer is found in older, mature adults, but there is also some correlation with individuals who have had radiation therapy in the past.
Multiple Myeloma Symptoms
One symptom of multiple myeloma is anemia, which may result in abnormal bleeding or other bleeding problems. Anemia might also make the affected individual feel more tired throughout the day while leaving them short of breath. Individuals suffering from the cancer may also notice back or bone pain, especially in the later stages when the cancer has taken root in the bone marrow. You may find that this pain is especially strong in your back or ribs. Because multiple myeloma affects the spine, the result can be some pressure on your nerves (meaning, you might notice some numb areas in either your arms or legs). With multiple myeloma, you might have unexplained fevers or broken bones as well.
Multiple Myeloma Treatment
Multiple myeloma treatment will help prolong your life and help you be more comfortable throughout your symptoms without creating any further complications. There are many medications for you to consider, among them are: Dexamethasone, Revlimid, Velcade, thalidomide, melphalan and others. Sometimes your doctor may have you take more than one medication at a time.
These medications could be taken in conjunction with radiation therapy, or you may try a bone marrow transplant. With bone marrow transplantation, you might use your own stem cells or someone else’s, which might even give you the chance at a cure. Dealing with any type of cancer is not easy, but with a little information and the support of your doctor, family and friends, you can increase your chances of living a healthy life.