Infographic: Multiple Myeloma

Weeding Out Multiple Myeloma

Cancerous plasma cells destroy bone and bone marrow, which "crowd out" healthy blood cells, similar to weeds crowding out healthy plants.

Healthy bone marrow grows blood cells.

Each cell type has a specific role:

  • Red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body.
  • Platelets form blood clots to prevent bleeding.
  • White blood cells help fight infection. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that produce protective antibodies.

Myeloma cells "crowd out" healthy cells.

Myeloma cells are cancerous plasma cells that multiply rapidly in the bone marrow, overwhelming other cells.

The reduction of healthy blood cells leads to:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased bleeding/bruising
  • Inability to fight infection

Bone pain and kidney failure may also develop.

Treatment keeps myeloma cells under control.

Many treatments are available. A doctor experienced in treating multiple myeloma can suggest the proper course.

  • Stem cell transplant
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunomodulators
  • Proteasome inhibitors
  • Targeted drug therapy

Sources: MayoClinic.org.

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