Multiple Myeloma (Bone Marrow Cancer)

Multiple myeloma, also known as bone marrow cancer, is formed throughout the body by malignant plasma cells in bone marrow. It is a relatively uncommon cancer affecting roughly 26,000 men and women in the U.S. each year. The specialist physicians at Norton Cancer Institute use treatments that can manage the symptoms and extend life expectancy substantially. There currently is not a cure for multiple myeloma.

Norton Cancer Institute provides a full range of myeloma treatment options. That includes access to innovative clinical trials featuring promising new therapies, as well as extensive cancer support services and resources to empower you and your loved ones, wherever you are in the journey.

Learn more about bone marrow cancer below, including signs, symptoms and risk factors.

Understanding Multiple Myeloma

Plasma cells help the body’s immune system fight disease by producing substances called antibodies. Too many plasma cells can form a tumor in the bone marrow called a myeloma; many tumors are called multiple myeloma.

The excess growth of plasma cells interferes with the body’s ability to make red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. This causes anemia and makes you more prone to infections and abnormal bleeding.

As the cancer cells grow in the bone marrow, they cause pain and destruction of the bones. If the bones in the spine are affected, it can put pressure on the nerves, resulting in numbness or paralysis.

Risk Factors for Bone Marrow Cancer

Multiple myeloma mainly affects older adults, and is more common among African Americans. To date, there is no way to prevent multiple myeloma, but there are certain risk factors associated with the disease, including:

  • A family history of bone marrow cancer
  • Exposure to chemicals such as herbicides, rubber, textiles, petroleum products or heavy metals
  • Exposure to radiation, including radiation therapy
  • History of chronic infections

Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

Many people show no signs of bone marrow cancer. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Anemia
  • Bone pain or fractures
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Infections (viral or bacterial)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Numbness in the legs
  • Problems with urination
  • Weakness and fatigue

Diagnosing Bone Marrow Cancer

Multiple myeloma is often difficult to detect. If your physician suspects the disease, he or she may perform diagnostic tests, including:

  • X-rays
  • Blood and urine tests
  • CT and/or bone scans
  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Biopsy
Cancer – 4673

Appointments

Cancer care that isn’t too far from home.

(502) 629-HOPE (4673)


Request an Appointment Online

Cokie Roberts’ 17-year breast cancer survival points to medical advances

When television journalist Cokie Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, she had reason to be optimistic. The 15-year survival rate for breast cancer patients was about 70%, meaning the odds were with her, […]

Read Full Story

Using vaccines to treat brain cancer: 4 things to know about this immunotherapy trial

Immunotherapy is a method of treating cancer, and new immune treatments are being studied across the country. Norton Cancer Institute is participating in a clinical trial conducted by AIVITA Biomedical Inc. to study whether a […]

Read Full Story

Why do I ride in Bike to Beat Cancer? Because I miss you, Rhonda

Ever have that work friend that turns into a real friend? Rhonda Hoffman was that real friend. We met not long after I moved here from Cincinnati for a career change. After several years, we […]

Read Full Story

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., to retire; pioneered cancer care in Louisville and Southern Indiana

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., came to Louisville in 1981 and was one of four founders of what is now Norton Cancer Institute. After almost 40 years as a medical oncologist, Dr. Woodcock plans to retire […]

Read Full Story

New dad gets ependymoma brain tumor diagnosis one day after son’s birth

March 2016 was a life-changing time for the Davis family. On March 23, Matt Davis and his wife, Hailey, celebrated the birth of their son, Finley. The next day, Matt learned he had a rare […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

Cokie Roberts’ 17-year breast cancer survival points to medical advances

When television journalist Cokie Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, she had reason to be optimistic. The 15-year survival rate for breast cancer patients was about 70%, meaning the odds were with her, […]

Read Full Story

Using vaccines to treat brain cancer: 4 things to know about this immunotherapy trial

Immunotherapy is a method of treating cancer, and new immune treatments are being studied across the country. Norton Cancer Institute is participating in a clinical trial conducted by AIVITA Biomedical Inc. to study whether a […]

Read Full Story

Why do I ride in Bike to Beat Cancer? Because I miss you, Rhonda

Ever have that work friend that turns into a real friend? Rhonda Hoffman was that real friend. We met not long after I moved here from Cincinnati for a career change. After several years, we […]

Read Full Story

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., to retire; pioneered cancer care in Louisville and Southern Indiana

Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., came to Louisville in 1981 and was one of four founders of what is now Norton Cancer Institute. After almost 40 years as a medical oncologist, Dr. Woodcock plans to retire […]

Read Full Story

New dad gets ependymoma brain tumor diagnosis one day after son’s birth

March 2016 was a life-changing time for the Davis family. On March 23, Matt Davis and his wife, Hailey, celebrated the birth of their son, Finley. The next day, Matt learned he had a rare […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.