This edition: Insights Into the Workings of Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that develops in the plasma cells of the bone marrow. Through complex processes healthy plasma cells transform into malignant myeloma cells. These cancer cells don't mature and then die like normal cells, but accumulate. As that happens in the bone marrow, myeloma cells crowd out healthy white blood cells and red blood cells, and can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma. If someone has more than one plasmacytoma, they have multiple myeloma. While not considered a hereditary disease, science has discovered that genetic factors may influence its development. Often, multiple myeloma is not detected until it progresses into advanced stages with such symptoms as bone pain, anemia, fatigue, and weight loss. In this edition of Healthy Body Healthy Mind, we'll learn about how multiple myeloma develops and how it is diagnosed and treated. Though this can be a frightening disease, mortality rates have fallen in recent years as treatments have become more effective.