Multiple Myeloma is a particular type of blood cancer in which plasma cells do not multiply normally. Rather than making antibodies that help your body fend off infection, they release excess protein into the boned and blood that lead to organ damage over time. Additionally, these affected plasma cells overcrowd your normal blood cells in your bones causing the bones to dissolve and weaken. As the condition worsens, the plasma cells overrun your bone marrow and begin to spread throughout your body creating, even more, organ damage.
In multiple myeloma early symptoms are often conspicuously absent. The first signs you might experience may include things like bone pain, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss. Other multiple myeloma cancer symptoms include:
- Bone tenderness
- Bone fractures
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
- Enlarged tongue
- Skin lesions
Relevant conditions of multiple myeloma
Experiencing the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma as it progresses, more than one of the following conditions may possibly produce:
Low blood counts
Many myelomas, cancerous cells modify the blood-forming cells in marrow. This may effect in anemia, which could result in shortness of breathing, exhaustion or a feeling of some weakness; leukopenia, which could enhance the chance of infections; or thrombocytopenia, which may cause bleeding or bruising.
As osteoclasts break up bone tissue the calcium will be released directly into blood. Hypercalcemia may cause constant urination, extreme thirst, nausea or vomiting, dehydration and constipation, and also psychological confusion, fatigue or even coma.
Higher blood calcium stages from the dissolved bone tissue and build-up of abnormal antibody protein and may possibly cause to kidney complications.
Spinal cord compression
Several myelomas may cause stressed and/or collapsing bone structures, just like the spinal vertebrae, that may cause spinal cord compression. Pain, numbness or tingling can be an indication of high pressure on the spinal cord, which usually could cause paralysis if there is absolutely no instant medical treatment.
The prognosis for multiple myeloma is not very encouraging. The median survival rate for people with the illness is approximately three years though some have lived 10 years or even longer after being diagnosed – with exceptional treatment and an otherwise favourable state of health.
The problem with diagnosing multiple myeloma symptoms in women is that women often overlook these symptoms as signs of myeloma because they are so common to women. Women are almost always in a constant state of fatigue, often susceptible to kidney infections, and suffer from bone tenderness and bone density problems quite frequently. Anemia is yet another condition that seems to affect women disproportionately making it difficult to see these symptoms for what they are until much later stages of the illness when damage to other organs throughout the body has taken place.
While many people rely on myeloma symptoms and signs to indicate that this might be a problem, there are some risk factors to consider as well. People who work in certain occupations where they have been exposed to various chemicals or radiation may be more susceptible to multiple myeloma, though this is a theory at the moment without compelling evidence to support it. Other risk factors appear to be age (people over the age of 45 account for nearly 96 per cent of all multiple myeloma diagnosis and people over the age of 65 account for more than 63 per cent of people diagnosed with the condition) and race as the risks increase for people of African American descent.
Multiple myeloma end-stage symptoms are often difficult to address – especially for family members who are watching with care. Kidney failure is one of the most common end-stage symptoms. Another common end-stage symptom is sleep. Most people approaching the end will sleep a great deal. Part of this is the result of extreme fatigue and part of it is in response to substantial bone pain – from fractures and from the disease itself.
While many people feel there is little hope when suffering from this condition, there are many treatments available that are believed to extend the life – and quality of life – for people living with multiple myeloma cancer.
Paul Napoli is a leading mesothelioma attorney who take cases on contingency you can connect with him on Twitter.