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

How to quit smoking: Make a plan

You’ve made the decision to quit smoking, now what? Don’t try to do it right away. You need to make a plan and let those closest to you know you have decided to quit. Accept […]

Read Full Story

Art therapist’s breast cancer journey fuels passion to help others with the disease

While Leigh Galloway undergoes her last chemotherapy treatment before a double mastectomy, she and Laura Chamberlin are engrossed in a watercolor. Like she does often with Laura, an expressive art therapist with Norton Cancer Institute […]

Read Full Story

Pathology lab provides expertise in cancer and other conditions

Patients don’t see pathologists, but these physicians can make all the difference when it comes to diagnosing and treating cancer and other conditions, said Alvin W. Martin, M.D., medical director for Norton Healthcare’s CPA Lab. [...]

Read Full Story

Bringing new gynecologic cancer treatments and caring for patients like family

After working as an obstetrician/gynecologist for five years, Charles B. Palmer, D.O., was drawn to patients needing complex care. He decided to become a gynecologic oncologist, diagnosing and treating cancers in women’s reproductive organs. “The [...]

Read Full Story

Bike to Beat Cancer raises more than $525,000 for Norton Cancer Institute

Riders, donors and everyone who participated in the 11th annual Bike to Beat Cancer raised more than $525,000 for Norton Cancer Institute. The Saturday, Sept. 14, ride began and ended at Norton Cancer Institute – […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

How to quit smoking: Make a plan

You’ve made the decision to quit smoking, now what? Don’t try to do it right away. You need to make a plan and let those closest to you know you have decided to quit. Accept […]

Read Full Story

Art therapist’s breast cancer journey fuels passion to help others with the disease

While Leigh Galloway undergoes her last chemotherapy treatment before a double mastectomy, she and Laura Chamberlin are engrossed in a watercolor. Like she does often with Laura, an expressive art therapist with Norton Cancer Institute […]

Read Full Story

Pathology lab provides expertise in cancer and other conditions

Patients don’t see pathologists, but these physicians can make all the difference when it comes to diagnosing and treating cancer and other conditions, said Alvin W. Martin, M.D., medical director for Norton Healthcare’s CPA Lab. [...]

Read Full Story

Bringing new gynecologic cancer treatments and caring for patients like family

After working as an obstetrician/gynecologist for five years, Charles B. Palmer, D.O., was drawn to patients needing complex care. He decided to become a gynecologic oncologist, diagnosing and treating cancers in women’s reproductive organs. “The [...]

Read Full Story

Bike to Beat Cancer raises more than $525,000 for Norton Cancer Institute

Riders, donors and everyone who participated in the 11th annual Bike to Beat Cancer raised more than $525,000 for Norton Cancer Institute. The Saturday, Sept. 14, ride began and ended at Norton Cancer Institute – […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

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