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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Multiple Myeloma

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Multiple Myeloma
Question: Could you give me as much information as possible on Multiple Myeloma? I was diagnosed with stage 3 last June.

Answer: Multiple myeloma represents a type of "leukemia". The specific cells involved are the cells in the bone marrow (plasma cells) responsible for producing anti-bodies to different diseases. Over production of the gamma-globulins or other products of these cells leads to different problems. There are several different problems as these cells multiply and over-produce proteins. These are usually anemia, renal failure, infections, bleeding, hypercalcemia(high calcium) and occasional strokes. Treatment is based both on the type of plasma cell(some gamma globulin proteins are much bigger) as well as the specific proteins produced by the abnormal plasma cells. There are several staging systems used to rank the disease and recommend the best treatment protocol. Stage 3 in most systems refers to anemia, elevated calcium, and bone lesions. This is a relatively advanced stage. 10-20 % of patients have a very slow and uneventual course. However, most require different types of chemotherapy.

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