A type of white blood cell is known as a plasma cell. The plasma cells make antibodies and these help in fighting infections by recognizing and fighting germs. A type of cancer that affects the plasma cells is called multiple myeloma. When there is an attack of multiple myeloma, cancer cells accumulate in the bone marrow and outnumber the healthy blood cells. The cancer cells produce abnormal antibodies causing major complications instead of producing helpful antibodies. There are different treatment options available for controlling the disease in those who have a requirement for treatment.
In the early stage of multiple myeloma, there may be no symptoms but in the later stage, it has different signs and symptoms. Some of them are:
- In your spine or chest, you feel pain.
- Loss of appetite
- Mental confusion
- Weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Excessive thirst
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
If you have any persistent signs and symptoms, consult an oncologist in Kolkata without further delay.
The actual cause of multiple myeloma is not clear. At the beginning of multiple myeloma, there is only one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow. It then starts multiplying rapidly. As there is no death of the cancer cells, they ultimately affect the production of healthy cells. There is a feeling of fatigue and an inability to fight infections as myeloma cells outnumber healthy white and red blood cells. The antibodies that the myeloma cells produce are abnormal and the body can’t use them. Many problems arise in the body such as kidney damage due to the buildup of abnormal antibodies like monoclonal antibodies in the body. The bones can break as cancer cells can also damage the bones.
Frequent infections, bone problems, reduced kidney function and anaemia are some of the complications of multiple myeloma.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Some of the diagnosis methods used are blood test like serum protein electrophoresis (SEP), urine tests, bone marrow test and imaging tests.
A cancer doctor in Howrah uses the following options for treating multiple myeloma:
- Targeted therapy: Specific abnormalities within cancer cells, which allow them to survive, are focused on targeted drug treatment.
- Biological therapy: The body’s immune system uses biological therapy drugs to fight myeloma cells.
- Chemotherapy: The use of chemotherapy drugs is done to kill fast-growing cells including myeloma cells.
- Corticosteroids: The immune system is regulated by corticosteroids to control inflammation in the body.
- Bone marrow transplant: Healthy bone marrow is used to replace your diseased bone marrow in a bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant.
- Radiation therapy: To damage myeloma cells and stop their growth, this treatment uses beams of energy such as X-rays and protons.