Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects plasma cells, a kind of white blood cell found in the soft insides of your bones, called marrow. Plasma cells are part of your body's immune system. They make antibodies to help fight off infections.
There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but treatment can often help you feel better and live longer. To make the best possible choices about your treatment and care, you'll want to learn as much as you can about the disease.
Singer/songwriter Stewart Francke is no stranger to receiving awards for the soulful hard rock he's been playing since he was 19, but this month he's being honored for his musical efforts to aid people with leukemia. A survivor of the disease, Francke is receiving the Civic Leadership Award from the Michigan-based Twilight Benefit Foundation.
"This is a large world of caring people," Francke says, "and I'm really honored to be part of this group."
Not that it's been an easy role. "I went through...
Your chances go up if you have other family members with multiple myeloma.
Other conditions can play a role, too. The diseases MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance) and solitary plasmacytoma also affect plasma cells. People with these conditions need to watch for multiple myeloma.
You may not have any symptoms at first. As this cancer develops and plasma cells build up, though, you might have: