Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis and Treatment

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis and Treatment

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis and Treatment - Multiple myeloma is a plasma cell neoplasm that usually affects several sites of the bone marrow. Malignant cells emit monoclonal antibodies (M protein) that can thicken the blood and damage the kidneys. This disease is often asymptomatic for a long time and has developed at the time of diagnosis.

Common symptoms of advanced multiple myeloma include bone pain, anemia, frequent infections, and kidney failure. In the last ten years, several new myeloma medications have emerged, which significantly improves the survival of multiple myeloma patients. Despite these recent advances, most of the patients end up declining and the disease remains incurable. Especially affecting the elderly, the incidence of multiple myeloma should increase as a result of the ageing of our population. Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematological neoplasm in Europe.

Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis and Treatment

In some cases, your doctor may accidentally detect multiple myeloma when you do a blood test for several other conditions. In other cases, your doctor may suspect multiple myeloma based on your signs and symptoms. The tests and procedures used to diagnose multiple myeloma include:

1. blood test. Laboratory analysis of your blood may reveal M proteins produced by myeloma cells. Another abnormal protein produced by the myeloma cells called beta-2-Microglobulin can be detected in the blood and gives the physician instructions on the aggressiveness of the myeloma.

In addition, blood tests to verify your kidney function, blood cell count, calcium levels and uric acid levels can give your doctor instructions on your diagnosis.

2. Urine test. The analysis of your urine can show M protein, which is called Bence Jones protein when detected in the urine.

3. Check your bone marrow. Your doctor may collect bone marrow samples for laboratory exams. The samples are collected with a long needle inserted into the bone (aspiration and bone marrow biopsy).

In the laboratory, the samples are examined for myeloma cells. Special tests, such as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), can analyze myeloma cells to understand their genetic abnormalities. Tests are also performed to measure the level at which myeloma cells divide.

If the test shows that you have multiple myeloma, your doctor will use the information collected in the diagnostic tests to classify your disease as stage I, stage II, or stage III. Stage I shows less aggressive disease, and stage III shows aggressive disease that can affect bones, kidneys and other organs. Your multiple myeloma may also receive a category of risk, which indicates the aggressiveness of your disease.

If you have symptoms, treatment can help relieve pain, control the complications of the disease, stabilize your condition and retard the progression of multiple myeloma.

If you suffer from multiple myeloma, but do not present any symptoms (also known as multiple myeloma in burning), you may not need treatment. However, your doctor will regularly monitor your condition for signs of disease development. This may involve regular blood and urine tests. If you have signs and symptoms or if multiple myeloma shows signs of development, you and your doctor may decide to start the treatment.

Standard treatment options include: targeted therapy, biological therapy, chemotherapy, corticosteroids, bone marrow transplantation or radiotherapy.

Which combination of treatments you may receive will depend on whether you are considered a good candidate for a bone marrow transplant. This depends on the risk of developing your illness, your age and your overall health.

What about alternative therapies? There is no alternative medicine to treat multiple myeloma. But alternative medicine can help you cope with the stress and side effects of myeloma and myeloma treatment.

Talk to your doctor about your choices, such as: Art therapy, sports, meditation, music therapy, relaxation exercises or spirituality. Please talk to your doctor before attempting any of these techniques to make sure they pose no risk to you.