Multiple Myeloma is a type of cancer of the blood cells called plasma cells. These cells reproduce in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy cells. They also produce proteins which can cause kidney dysfunction. Multiple Myeloma is more common in males and in blacks.
Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma can vary and, early in the disease, there may be none.
When signs and symptoms do occur, they can include:
- Bone pain, especially in your spine or chest
- Loss of appetite
- Mental fogginess or confusion
- Frequent infections
- Weight loss
- Weakness or numbness in your legs
- Excessive thirst
Multiple Myeloma usually starts out as a benign condition called monoclonal gammopathy. About 3% of the population over age 50 has monoclonal gammopathy at any time and about 1% of those go on to develop Multiple Myeloma.
The pain of Multiple Myeloma is usually in the back and ribs. It is often the presenting symptoms leading to work up and diagnosis. Multiple Myeloma is usually diagnosed by urinalysis, blood work and X-rays. Treatment of Multiple Myeloma includes radiation and chemotherapy. The treatment of the pain of Multiple Myeloma begins with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories but eventually includes narcotics. Occasionally, delivering narcotics into the spinal canal can provide excellent pain relief with much less side effects than the oral route.