What is Multiple Myeloma

What is cancer?

Cells are the tiny building blocks existing in the body. Cancer begins when the cells mature, mutate and grow out of control. The healthy cells expand when the body needs them and are no more when they are no longer needed.

Cancer consists of abnormal cells that evolve even though the body doesn’t need them. If the cancer cells are in the body for more than the required amount of time, they can mature and spread to different parts of the body at an uncontrolled pace. 

Multiple Myeloma – An Overview

  1. Cancer that originates in the plasma cells of the bone marrow is the Multiple myeloma. This is a soft, inner part of some bones where new blood cells develop. The immune system consists of your plasma cells. They make proteins called antibodies that help you fight diseases and infections. These plasma cells are found in the bone marrow. In multiple myeloma, the mutated plasma goes through a phase of changes. This can eventually cause excess cell growth. It can also be the reason that tumours are formed in the bones. Along with bone tumors, multiple myeloma can also cause other health issues. This can be named low blood cell counts, kidney issues, and cause frequent infections. 
  2. Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that affects the cells in the bone marrow, specifically the plasma cells. But first, let us understand what bone marrow is? The bone marrow is a spongy and elastic tissue located inside the bones that produce the various components of your blood. The plasma cells are an essential component of the body’s immune system. They have antibodies that help the body in its fight against infection. Myeloma matures and develops when the healthy plasma cells change and proliferate uncontrollably. Multiple bone lesions may result, increasing the risk of bone fractures. That is the origin of the term multiple myeloma. 

Abnormal plasma cells can crowd out or suppress the growth of other bone marrow cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. They also decrease the production of normal plasma.

As a result of this suppression, the patient may also experience: 
  • Anaemia is a condition caused by the lack of red blood cells. 
  • Excessive bleeding from skin cuts due to the deficiency of the platelet count
  • The ability to fight injection goes down drastically due to the lack of white blood cells and the body’s inability to respond to infection due to the presence of abnormal antibodies. 
  • It is essential to note that myeloma cells can produce antibodies like normal plasma cells. On the other hand, Myeloma cells cannot produce healthy, functional and active antibodies that fight against infection. They instead have “monoclonal protein”, “monoclonal immunoglobin’ or “M Protein”. M protein can add up in the blood and also in urine. –
  • Potentially harming the kidneys and other organs and lowering the body’s immunity. Myeloma causes structural bone damage, leading to weakened bones and, eventually, painful fractures or broken bones. Myeloma is commonly referred to as multiple myeloma because most people with 90 percent or more than one bone lesion when they are diagnosed, or lesions develop throughout the illness.
  •  Solitary plasmacytoma is a myeloma cell tumor that affects only one site in the bone or, less commonly, other organs such as those in the upper respiratory tract, including the nose and the throat, or the gastrointestinal system. Extramedullary plasmacytoma is a type of myeloma that begins outside the bone marrow, in places such as the lymph glands, sinuses, liver, throat, digestive tract, or under the skin. 

How multiple myeloma starts and grows

Plasmacytomas are the changes caused in the plasma cells that can lead to tumors. These tumors usually start in the bones. In infrequent scenarios, they also can originate in other parts of the body. Only a small number of people have a single tumor called a solitary plasmacytoma. Usually, people have more tumors in many different bones. This is called multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma can cause several different health issues. For example,

Bone tumors cause bone pain and bone fractures. They cause excess calcium to enter the blood, known as hypercalcemia. This can cause symptoms such as constipation, frequent urination and intense thirst. The cancer cells can outnumber the healthy or normal cells in the bone marrow. This can lead to low normal blood cells, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This then can cause problems such as weakness, having an increased risk of infections and bleeding. Myeloma cells make too much of a specific antibody known as an M protein. This enters your blood and can damage the kidneys and other organs.