Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma (also referred to simply as Myeloma), is an uncontrolled growth or cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are part of the immune system and are a type of white blood cell normally responsible for producing antibodies. Plasma cells are found in the bone marrow, the hollow area within the bones.
 
Because plasma cells are found in the blood, Myeloma is considered a hematologic or blood cancer. The word “multiple” is often used because the malignant cells usually affect multiple areas of the bone marrow.
 
When plasma cells reproduce uncontrollably, someone with myeloma has too many. In healthy people, plasma cells make up 2-3% of the cells in the bone marrow but in someone with myeloma, they make up at least 10% of the cells. The abnormally high number of plasma cells can “crowd” out other types of cells that are needed to be healthy, such as red blood cells or platelets.
 
There are approximately 7,500 Canadians living with myeloma. Although there is no absolute “cure,” thanks to ongoing developments the management of myeloma, a growing number of patients with active myeloma are living longer and giving people with the disease the best possible quality of life for as long as possible
 
The information above is from the Multiple Myeloma Patient Handbook produced by Myeloma Canada. It can be accessed
here.

 

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