Cancer is not something every person deals and battles with every day. There are those who are lucky enough to live a normal life sans malignancies and there are people who have to face the truth that their biggest cross right now is cancer. But whether you’re in remission, a survivor, or a non-cancer patient, it’s best to be well-informed about this disease in order to steer clear of it, prevent its complications, and improve the quality of life if you have it.
Of all the cancer forms, multiple myeloma, an autoimmune disease is one of the most fatal yet fairly manageable of all. It is uncommon and affects blood cells which are manufactured in the jelly-like marrow found in hollow bones. These plasma cells make immunoglobulins or antibodies which are the building blocks of the body’s immune system. They fight off infection, that’s why a simple cold won’t kill a normal, healthy person. You may have observed that cancer patients are very susceptible to infection, all the more reason for those with multiple myeloma to keep all forms of infection at bay. When normal plasma cells grow in numbers out of control, they become cancerous. They form tumors known as plasmacytomas. The said tumors may then cling to bone tissue and other soft tissues of the body as well. One plasma tumor is called isolated plasmacytoma while clusters of this tumor are termed multiple myeloma.
The most common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma include anemia, incessant bleeding and easy bruising. A person with suspected multiple myeloma may experience frequent epistaxis and appearance of bruises from slight blows and bumps. These bruises occur because the body already has a low platelet count, thus, prevents clotting. Frequent bouts with infection can also happen. Weak, brittle bones, bone pain, high serum calcium levels, kidney malfunction, numbness, constipation, loss of appetite, and episodes of confusion can also be observed.
If you experience these symptoms or observe them on a loved one or friend, seek medical consultation immediately. It’s best to talk with your physician about it in order to rule out other problems, apply the correct intervention, and in order for you or the patient to improve the quality of life when they finally come to terms with having the disease.