Learn About the Facets of Multiple Myeloma
A person’s blood is made up of multiple different aspects. One of which is the plasma cells. These cells help create antibodies to attack germs and fight off infection. Unfortunately, like all cells in the body, they are vulnerable to potentially suffering from cancer. Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer which starts in these plasma cells.
Like all forms of cancer, there’s the potential for it to spread throughout the body if it’s not recognized in time and treatment isn’t begun. In order to recognize the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma and get to the doctor, it helps to have a basic education on how multiple myeloma works and what the symptoms are.
How it Works
Multiple myeloma begins in the plasma cells. Cancer cells are different from other cells in the body. Cancer cells buck the normal cell growth cycle by continuing to grow when they should otherwise perish. Multiple myeloma starts from singular abnormal cells and grows very quickly. The cells grown in the bone marrow. Normally, the bone marrow would produce healthy blood cells (both red and white), but instead, it begins creating more useless cancerous cells.
In turn, this means that the body is suddenly unable to fight off diseases, since the white blood cells are being reduced. People also feel weak and fatigued because there isn’t enough red blood cells in play.
The cancer is still producing antibodies in the plasma cells. However, the problem is that these antibodies are abnormal and don’t actually do anything to help out. In fact, they actively hurt because they build up in areas like the kidneys and cause damage. They can damage bones too.
Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma
The early stages of multiple myeloma can be tricky when it comes to symptoms. They are often so light that people don’t even realize it. Symptoms can be varied and not everyone will have every symptom. Some of the symptoms that people may experience when they have multiple myeloma include:
- Nausea - This is a common symptom for many different issues.
- Constipation - Trouble with bowel movements can occur.
- Bone Pain - This is most common in the areas along the chest and spine.
- Loss of Appetite - Many people lose interest in food. In addition, they may also suffer from weight loss both due to this and unexpectedly.
- Mental Confusion - It’s common for people with multiple myeloma to feel fogginess and slow of thought.
- Fatigue - This is another common symptom and is explained by less red blood cells being produced.
- Infections - Since the white blood cells are compromised, it’s harder for the body to fight off the constant infections.
- Leg Issues - Legs can sometimes feel weak or numb when they are being used.
- Thirst - Specifically, this is an excessive thirst that occurs constantly and can never really be satiated.
Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
There’s many different treatments which might be used in the fight against multiple myeloma. Compared to some cancers, it’s arguably got more options than others. Some of the treatment options include:
- Biological Therapy - This is a therapy based on biological medications. They enhance the immune system to attack the cancer.
- Chemotherapy - This common cancer treatment uses drugs to eliminate cancer cells whenever possible.
- Targeted Therapy - Cancer cells aren’t unstoppable. They are just prolific breeders. There are targeted drugs which can eliminate myeloma cells by breaking down the proteins within.
- Bone Marrow Transplants - In this surgery, healthy bone marrow replaces the diseased bone marrow currently existing in the bones.
- Radiation Therapy - This kind of treatment will use high energy beams to bombard cancerous cells with radiation. This can stop growth and sometimes shrink the amount of cancerous cells in an area.
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