Multiple myeloma is a rare type of cancer that causes uncontrolled production of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow. Plasma cells make antibodies that help your body fight infection. When there are too many plasma cells, they can crowd out normal blood cells. This causes a reduction in red blood cells (anemia) or platelets (thrombocytopenia).
The plasma cells can collect in the bone to form small, painful tumours that can sometimes lead to broken bones. The plasma cells can also cause kidney problems.
Multiple myeloma is usually treated with medicines called chemotherapy to reduce the number of abnormal cells, antibiotics to help fight infection, and pain medicine. Radiation therapy may be used to treat bone tumours.
When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. You also can do things at home to make yourself feel better while you go through treatment. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333) or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jimmy Ruiz, MD - Medical Oncology, Hematology
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