Multiple Myeloma

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    Multiple Myeloma is one type of cancer that develops in the bone marrow.  Bone marrow is a soft, spongy found inside the bone. It helps in making red blood cells.

Figure shows the origin of multiple myeloma (bone marrow).


Symptoms:

The most commonly observed symptoms are listed below,

Reduction in RBC (anaemia)

Bone pain

Bleeding problems

Brittle bones are more likely to break

Fatigue due to anaemia

Fever without any other cause

Shortness of breath

Renal failure

Neurological symptoms


The process of production of myeloma cells are shown schematically in the diagram below.

Diagnosis:

Blood tests of the following substances in the body are important to measure to confirm the disease.

1. Calcium level

2. Albumin level

3. Kidney performance level

4. Total protein level

5. Complete blood count

6. Urine and blood tests to identify the proteins or antibodies

7. Immunoglobulins level 




Treatment:

    People who have mild disease or where the diagnosis is not certain are often closely watched without treatment. Some people have a slow-developing form of multiple myeloma that takes years to cause symptoms.

Medications for the treatment of multiple myeloma include:

Dexamethasone, melphalan, cyclophpshamide,dosorubicin, thalidomide,lenalidomide (Revlimid),and  bortezomib (Velcade) can be used alone or combined together.

Bisphosphonates (pamidronate or zoledronic acid) to reduce bone pain and prevent fractures.

Radiation therapy may be done to get rid of bone pain or treat a bone tumour


Two types of bone marrow transplantation may be tried:

Autologous bone marrow or stem cell transplantation makes use of one’s own stem cells.

Allogeneic transplant makes use of someone else stem cells. This treatment carries serious risks but offers the chance of improved survival.

A recent study shows the survival rates of multiple myeloma are on an average of two to four years.

People with multiple myeloma should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and help maintain proper kidney function. They should also be cautious when having x-ray tests that use contrast dye.


Questions:

1. Symptoms  of multiple myeloma are

a) Bone pain

b) Increase in calcium level

c) Albumin level

d) All


2. The survival rates for multiple myeloma is on an average of,

a) One year

b) Two to four years

c) Two to ten years

d) All


Answer:

1. d) All

2. b) Two to four years


References:

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

2. www.wikipedia.org

3. www.cancer.org

4. http://mymultiplemyeloma.com


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