Multiple myeloma is a bone-marrow cancer occurring when the body makes too many abnormal plasma cells. The disease is more common in those over 60 and in African-Americans. There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but symptoms can be treated to allow patients to live more normally.
One of the main early symptoms of multiple myeloma is bone pain. This will be felt mainly in the skull, ribs, back and pelvis.
Abnormal proteins are an early symptom of multiple myeloma. These proteins are called monoclonal proteins and are found in blood or urine.
Another early sign of multiple myeloma is having high levels of calcium in your blood. This happens when calcium from cancerous bones dissolves into blood.
Other symptoms of multiple myeloma include constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, excessive urination and thirst, weight loss, confusion, anemia, fatigue, repeated infections such as sinusitis, and leg weakness or numbness.
Standard treatment of multiple myeloma includes medicines that kill cancer cells, chemotherapy, radiation, oral corticosteroids and stem-cell transplant.