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Facts About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the third most common hematologic cancer (cancer of the blood). However, compared to more frequently occurring cancers (e.g., breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers), multiple myeloma is relative rare and accounts for only 1.6 percent of diagnoses each year. For 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates that 30,770 new cases of myeloma will be diagnosed in the U.S.1 Due to the less common occurrence of multiple myeloma, providers are less likely to diagnosis and treat these patients on a regular basis. 

1. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2018. CA: Cancer J Clin. 2018;68:7-30.
(Facts above last updated 3/22/18)

Signs and Symptoms

  • Bone pain
  • Bone fractures with no known cause
  • Many infections
  • Some have no symptoms, following a routine checkup
  • Tests may show changes in blood and/or urine

Tests for Myeloma

  • Lab tests
    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Imaging tests
    • CT (computed tomography) scan
    • X-ray (skeletal survey)
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
    • PET (positron emission tomography)

Treatment for Multiple Myeloma

  • Single or combination drug therapy
  • Supportive care
  • High dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation
  • Radiation therapy for patients with single mass of myeloma cells—plasmacytoma
  • Clinical trial

(Last updated 2015)


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