Multiple myeloma isn't contagious. Most people who develop multiple myeloma have no clearly identifiable risk factors for the disease.

Some factors that may increase your risk of multiple myeloma include:

  • Age. The majority of people who develop multiple myeloma are older than 50, with most diagnosed in their mid-60s. Few cases occur in people younger than 40.
  • Sex. Men are more likely to develop the disease than are women.
  • Race. Blacks are about twice as likely to develop multiple myeloma as are whites.
  • History of a monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). Every year 1 percent of the people with MGUS in the United States develop multiple myeloma.
  • Obesity. Your risk of multiple myeloma is increased if you're overweight or obese.

Other factors that may increase your risk of developing multiple myeloma include exposure to radiation and working in petroleum-related industries.

Aug. 16, 2011