Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell, which helps fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs.1
When white blood cells (B-cells) respond to an infection, they mature and change into plasma cells, which are mainly found in the bone marrow.2 Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones.2 When plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, this is called multiple myeloma.2
Following a diagnosis, patients will work closely with their doctor to develop a treatment plan. Depending on the treatment received, any of the following may be part of the multiple myeloma care team:
The goals of treatment are to reduce symptoms, slow disease progression, provide prolonged remissions and lengthen survival while preserving quality of life.4
Although multiple myeloma is considered incurable, this is a very hopeful time for patients and their families. Dramatic advancements in new treatments over the past decade are resulting in better overall survival, allowing many patients to maintain a good quality of life for years.4 New approaches for multiple myeloma treatment are being studied to hopefully bring new therapies to patients and improve outcomes.
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Sources: 1. Mayo Clinic. “Multiple myeloma.” Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-myeloma/symptoms-causes/syc-20353378. Accessed on September 23, 2019. 2. American Cancer Society. “What is Multiple Myeloma?” Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/multiple-myeloma/about/what-is-multiple-myeloma.html. Accessed on: September 23, 2019. 3. American Cancer Society. “Treating Multiple Myeloma.” Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/multiple-myeloma/treating.html. Accessed on: September 23, 2019. 4. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “Myeloma.” Available at: https://www.lls.org/sites/default/files/file_assets/PS39_Myeloma_Booklet_9_17_FINAL_with_Insert.pdf.