Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs.

Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause kidney problems.

Treatment for multiple myeloma isn't always necessary. If you're not experiencing signs and symptoms, you may not require treatment. If signs and symptoms develop, a number of treatments can help control your multiple myeloma.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma can vary and, early in the disease, there may be none.

When signs and symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Bone pain, especially in your spine or chest
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mental fogginess or confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness or numbness in your legs
  • Excessive thirst

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.

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