Myeloma is a cancer of a type of white blood cells called plasma cells, found primarily in the bone marrow. Myeloma destroys normal bone marrow tissue and slows normal blood cell production. The cancerous cells produce an immunoglobulin protein, also known as an antibody. Because there is a single clone of cells producing the same specific protein, it is known as a monoclonal protein. The production of other normal antibody proteins may be suppressed.
There are no known or identifiable risk factors for myeloma. The first symptom of myeloma may be bone pain. Patients may also be anemic, tire more easily, and feel weakness. Recurrent infections or bone fractures may also be signs of myeloma.
Myeloma Screening & Diagnosis
There is no established screening for myeloma. Symptomatic patients may undergo a variety of pathology tests to establish histology. Tests may include blood and urine tests, a bone marrow biopsy, or sometimes tissue biopsies.
Once diagnosed, Myeloma is staged using further blood tests, urine tests, bone marrow biopsy and aspirate, and CT scans and PET scans. The severity of the myeloma is determined by the stage, as well as other biologic markers such as evaluation of the chromosomes (cytogenetics) in the bone marrow sample.
NorthShore University HealthSystem physicians and the team at the Kellogg Cancer Center work collaboratively and are dedicated to putting patients and families at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.
Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your team may include your hematologist, nurse, genetics counselor, pathologist, nutritionist, interventional radiologist, and researchers focused on you. This meeting of the minds provides each patient with an individualized care plan to create the path for the most optimal outcome. Our approach emphasizes open communication, collaborating with each other personally, and through one of the most advanced electronic medical records systems in the country.