NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Multiple Myeloma - page 13

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NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Multiple Myeloma
Version 1.2012
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Definitions:
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See Part 1 on page
X for definitions of
other lung parts.
Heavy chain:
The longer
protein chain that s part of
an antibody
Light chain:
The shorter
protein chain that is part of
an antibody
M-protein:
An abnormal
antibody made by myeloma
cells that doesn’t fight
germs
Platelet:
A type of blood
cell that forms blood clots
to control bleeding
Red blood cell:
A type
of blood cell that carries
oxygen from the lungs to
all parts of the body
White blood cell:
A type
of blood cell that fights
infection
2.1 General health tests
Medical history
Before and after cancer treatment, your doctor will assess your medical history.
Your medical history includes any health events in your life and any medications
you’ve taken. This information may affect which cancer treatment is best for you. It
may help to make a list of old and new medications while at home to bring to your
doctor’s office. Since some health problems run in families, your doctor may want
to ask about the medical history of your blood relatives.
Physical exam
Doctors often give a physical exam along with taking a medical history. A physical
exam is a review of your body for signs of disease. During this exam, your doctor
will listen to your lungs, heart, and gut. Parts of your body will likely be felt to see if
organs are of normal size, are soft or hard, or cause pain when touched.
2.2 Blood tests
Doctors test blood to look for signs of disease. Blood is made of white blood cells,
red blood cells, and platelets, but it also has many proteins and other chemicals.
Blood tests can be used to diagnose myeloma, assess if organs are working
well, and check the results of cancer treatments. Blood tests can also be used
to assess the amount of cancer in the body, called the tumor burden. Blood tests
used for myeloma are described next.
Tumor burden
• SPEP (
s
erum
p
rotein
e
lectro
p
horesis) measures the amount of M-protein.
High levels may be a sign of advanced myeloma.
• SIFE (
s
erum
i
mmuno
f
ixation
e
lectrophoresis) identifies the type of M-protein
by showing which form of heavy chains and light chains they have.
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