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Leukemia & Lymphoma

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Multiple Myeloma

What Is Multiple Myeloma?

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.

Recommended Related to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Mantle cell lymphoma is a cancer of white blood cells, which help your body fight infections. You may hear your doctor refer to your condition as a type of "non-Hodgkin's lymphoma." These are cancers of the lymphocytes, a specific type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes are found in your lymph nodes, the pea-sized glands in your neck, groin, armpits, and other places that are part of your immune system. If you have mantle cell lymphoma, some of your lymphocytes, called "B-cell" lymphocytes,...

Read the Mantle Cell Lymphoma article > >

With this cancer, your plasma cells multiply and grow out of control. They crowd out healthy cells, including red and white blood cells and those that keep bones strong.

Over time, plasma cells spill out of your bone marrow and travel to other parts of your body, which can damage your organs.

The disease can weaken your immune system, lead to anemia, and cause kidney and bone problems.

You may not notice any symptoms until the cancer is advanced, meaning it has spread inside your body.

Getting this kind of diagnosis is hard for you and the people in your life. It's important that you and your family get support to manage this disease.


Scientists don't know exactly what causes multiple myeloma. In some people, it may be brought on by changes (mutations) in genes that control how cells grow.

You may be more likely to get this cancer if you are:

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:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

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