Cancer InDepth: Multiple Myeloma
- Red blood cells—carry oxygen to the body
- White blood cells—help fight off infection
- Platelets—help the blood to clot
- Persistent bone pain, often severe—Pain is most commonly in the back. But, it can also be in the limbs or ribs.
- Anemia —This is characterized by a lack of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s cells. Anemia causes fatigue because the cells do not receive enough oxygen. It can also aggravate a heart condition in a person with angina or other heart disease, in which the heart is already suffering from insufficient blood supply. The additional lack of oxygen in the blood from anemia compounds the problem.
- Increased risk of infection—Because there are not enough white cells to fight bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, infection is more likely.
- Easy bleeding—Decreased production of platelets impairs blood-clotting ability. This leads to bleeding easily and for a long time.
Alan R. Multiple myeloma. EBSCO Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/perc-about . Updated November 2009. Accessed February 22, 2010.
Cancer Medicine . 5th ed. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker Inc; 2000.
Multiple myeloma. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/multiple-myeloma/DS00415 . Accessed February 22, 2010.
Multiple myeloma/other plasma cell neoplasms. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/myeloma . Accessed March 4, 2010.
Rakel R, Bope E, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2002 . 54th ed. St. Louis, MO: WB Saunders Company; 2002: 439-443.
What are the key statistics about multiple myeloma? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/multiplemyeloma/detailedguide/multiple-myeloma-key-statistics . Updated May 2009. Accessed March 4, 2010.
What are the risk factors for multiple myeloma? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/multiplemyeloma/detailedguide/multiple-myeloma-risk-factors . Updated May 2009. Accessed March 4, 2010.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -
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