Myeloma bone disease or multiple myeloma is a cancer formed by a type of white blood cell called the plasma cell. Since the bone marrow is the site of formation of many blood cell types, it is a common site of involvement in multiple myeloma. Plasma cells are the population responsible for making antibodies. As the disease progresses, the cancerous cells produce large amounts of paraproteins, which cause many of the manifestations of multiple myeloma throughout the body.
Myeloma bone disease or multiple myeloma affects approximately 1-4 people out of every 100,000 and makes up approximately 1% of all cancers, making the disease the most common primary bone malignancy. It is rare to see this disease affect people under the age of 40. For unknown reasons, myeloma bone disease or multiple myeloma is more common in men. It also occurs twice as often in African Americans as it does Caucasians.
Anatomy of the Bone Marrow
Bone marrow is the spongy material inside the bones. There are two types – red and yellow. The yellow bone marrow consists of fatty tissue, while the red bone marrow consists of the following:
Bones are complex, and inside each bone is bone marrow, which produces and stores blood cells that are important to the daily functioning of the body. When the bone marrow is compromised by myeloma bone disease or multiple myeloma, it can affect the bone structure, causing the bones to weaken.
Types of Myeloma Bone Disease and Multiple Myeloma
Myeloma bone disease and multiple myeloma can be divided into various stages, depending upon the progression of the disease:
Causes of Myeloma Bone Disease and Multiple Myeloma
Although the causes of myeloma bone disease and multiple myeloma are relatively unknown, there are several factors that increase a person’s risk for contracting that first cancerous plasma cell that can set the disease in motion:
Symptoms of Myeloma Bone Disease and Multiple Myeloma
Depending on the type of myeloma bone disease and multiple myeloma, symptoms vary. With the more aggressive forms of myeloma, the symptoms seen are fairly extensive.
The following are some of the most common myeloma bone disease and multiple myeloma symptoms. Every person is different, so not all of these symptoms may be present:
Myeloma bone disease and multiple myeloma symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of other medical conditions. Seek help from a doctor if you have any of these symptoms or think you may be at risk of having myeloma bone disease or multiple myeloma.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's musculoskeletal oncology services in New York treats myeloma bone disease/multiple myeloma as well as a broad range of conditions that affect the bones within the body.