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Myeloma Bone Disease / Multiple Myeloma

What is myeloma bone disease?

Myeloma bone disease is cancer that affects certain white blood cells called plasma cells. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 20,580 new cases of myeloma bone disease will be diagnosed in 2009.

Plasma cells, and other white blood cells, are part of the immune system. Plasma cells produce antibodies – immune system proteins that assist the body in ridding itself of harmful substances. Each plasma cell responds to one specific substance by producing one kind of antibody. The body has many types of plasma cells, and, therefore, can respond to many types of substances.

When cancer occurs, the body overproduces plasma cells, which are abnormal and alike. These abnormal plasma cells are called myeloma cells.

Myeloma cells collect in the bone marrow and the outer layer of the bone. Because the cells begin in the blood plasma, myeloma is not a bone cancer, but is cancer that affects bones.

What causes myeloma bone disease?

The exact cause of myeloma bone disease is not known, but theories and associations have been suggested as risk factors.

Treatment for myeloma bone disease:

Specific treatment for myeloma bone disease will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference