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.
Many types of leukemia produce no obvious symptoms in the early stages. Eventually, symptoms may include any of the following:
Anemia and related symptoms, such as fatigue, pallor, and a general feeling of illness.
A tendency to bruise or bleed easily, including bleeding from the gums or nose, or blood in the stool or urine.
Susceptibility to infections such as sore throat or bronchial pneumonia, which may be accompanied by headache, low-grade fever, mouth sores, or skin rash.
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: