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More About Myeloma Treatment
Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma
Initially symptoms may not be present or may be non-specific ,
loss of appetite,
low blood counts
low RBCs leading to anaemic with low Hb having difficulty in walking , weakness on performing routine tasks
Reduced WBCs leading to susceptibility to infection
Reduced platelets causing bleeding
Bone pain - Bone pain affects almost 70% of patients and is the most common symptom. Myeloma bone pain usually involves the spine and ribs, and worsens with activity.
Weak and brittle bones fracture easily(pathological fractures )
High calcium levels leading to constipation ,increased thirst , nausea , confusion
Kidney damage or failure either due to abnormal protein deposition or increased calcium levels .
Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma can be difficult to diagnose because initially has few or no symptoms.
On Initial examination –
- Physician will check for bleeding, signs of infection and specific areas of bone tenderness. If suspected multiple myeloma , you will be referred to a hematologist.
Tests for Multiple Myeloma
Complete blood count: to check the number of blood cells, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or plasma viscosity (PV)
Blood calcium levels
Urine tests:To check for abnormal proteins produced by cancerous plasma cells detected in urine .
Electrophoresis: to measure immunoglobins in the body
Kidney function tests :check the level of blood urea nitrogen to check for functioning of the kidneys
Imaging tests: CT Scan, MRI, X-ray to look for bone problems
- Bone marrow biopsy is usually needed to confirm multiple myeloma. A needle will be used to take a small sample of bone marrow , usually performed under a local anaesthetic , the sample of bone marrow will be used to check for cancerous plasma cells.
Risk factors of multiple myeloma
The cause of multiple myeloma is generally unknown.
Factors that may increase risk of multiple myeloma include:
Increasing age. Your risk of multiple myeloma increases as you age, with most people diagnosed in their mid-60s.
Male sex. Men are more likely to develop the disease than are women
Genetic -Family history of multiple myeloma.
Exposure to radiation
Treatment of Multiple Myeloma
There is currently no cure for multiple myeloma, but treatment can often help control it for several years.
Initial treatment of multiple myeloma depends on the patient’s age and general health of patient. Treatment is planned after diagnosis and staging.
Treatment will often involve:
- Disease treatment -
If you're considered a candidate for bone marrow transplant- your initial therapy will likely include a combination of treatments, such as targeted therapy, biological therapy or chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplantation
Targeted therapy. Targeted drug treatment focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer cells that allow them to survive. Targeted-therapy drugs may be administered through a vein in your arm or in pill form.
Biological therapy. Biological therapy use your body's immune system to fight myeloma cells. These medications are commonly taken in pill form.
Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs kill fast-growing cells, including myeloma cells.
Stem cell transplantation: performed for the development of healthy cells in the body,
Autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) - the transplantation of a patient’s own stem cells. It is not curative, but does prolong overall survival and complete remission.
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation, the transplantation of a healthy person’s stem cells into the affected patient.
Radiation therapy: During radiation therapy the myeloma cells are destroyed by high beams of energy. This therapy helps to shrink the tumor cells .
- Supportive treatment -medicines and procedures to prevent and treat problems caused by myeloma, such as
- Treat anaemia
- Bone pain and fractures ,use of bisphosphonates
- Adequate hydration to prevent calcium accumulation and kidney damage
- Relapse treatment – Recurrent or relapsed myeloma. Myeloma that returns after a period of being in control after treatment is called recurrent myeloma or relapsed myeloma, Anti-myeloma medicines to control the cancer when it comes back
Factors Affecting Cost Of Treatment of Multiple myeloma
The cost to the patient depends on a variety of factors like
The hospital, the patient chooses.
Type of Room
Fee for the team of doctors
Standard tests and diagnostic procedures.
cost of Chemotherapy/ radiotherapy
cost of stem cell transplantation
cost of supportive treatment
Cost of the follow –up care required after the procedure