Maddison Tate Hour 1
What is Myeloma?
The cancer of plasma cells in bone marrow. Plasma cells are white blood cells that our body uses for fighting off diseases in our immune systems. Bone marrow is inside of our bones, bone marrow is also where blood cells are made from stem cells. Cancer-filled plasma cells build up the bone marrow and make a lot of one type of antibody, called Paraprotein, which causes various symptoms.
Treatment for Myeloma usually consists of a combination of drugs that are given over periods of time (called Cycles. Cycles can last from weeks to months) and chemotherapy drugs may be included in this combination. Steroids and other types of anti-myeloma drugs are given. Doctors try to make the patient's life easy and keep them from getting sick. But since Myeloma can go for so long without being noticed it can spread pretty easily into more of your bones. You cant remove Myeloma because it is inside of your bone marrow and that is very important.
- Loss of appetite
- bone pain and weakness
- bruising or purple-colored rashes
- shortness of breath
- weakness or fatigue
- weight loss
- extreme thirst
People are diagnosed usually when they give blood. It can show up in any blood scan. Also, some people may be suspicious that they might have been effected and in that case they might get X-Rays, since it's in your bones, MRI scans, PET scans, and CT scans. Myeloma can show up in the average urine test that doctors ask for.
Who does it affect?
Myeloma affects adults over the age of 50 usually. People are usually diagnosed around the age of 70. More men are affected than women. African American men are more affected that Caucasian men. Also, overweight or obese men are at a higher risk. Myeloma is not very common, it makes up 1% of all cancer.
Although there is no known way to prevent Myeloma, there is some speculations that if you work in the Oil Industry you might be at higher risk for Myeloma and also stay away from radiology. Myeloma is not thought to be an inherited cancer, but there is a slightly higher incidence of Myeloma amongst family members than in the general population.
What did you learn?
I learned that this cancer is a rare form. There isn't much that can be done for this type of cancer. I found out how painful Myeloma is. Bone marrow biopsies are really painful. The doctors stick a needle into someones bone all the way down to the bone and take some liquid bone marrow. Also, I learned that there isn't really a way to prevent it or a way to get rid of it. Doctors just try to keep their patients from getting sick due to their weak immune system and they try to keep them comfortable as their bones get very weak and brittle and they hurt.