NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Multiple Myeloma, Version 1.2014
You’ve learned that you have multiple
myeloma. It’s common to feel shocked
and confused. Part 1 reviews some
basics about multiple myeloma that
may help you better understand this
disease. These basics may also help
you start planning for treatment.
What are plasma cells?
Blood is made of many types of cells, called blood
cells. The three main types of blood cells are
platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells.
Platelets help control bleeding. Red blood cells carry
oxygen throughout the body. White blood cells help
fight infections in the body.
Most blood cells are made in the bone marrow—the
soft, sponge-like tissue in the center of most bones.
See Figure 1.1.
Blood stem cells are immature cells
from which all blood cells are made.
As shown in
, many types of white blood
cells are made from a blood stem cell. Types of white
blood cells include granulocytes, B-cells, and T-cells.
When germs invade the body, B-cells change into
plasma cells. In a healthy person, less than 5 out of
100 cells in the bone marrow are plasma cells.
Plasma cells make antibodies. Antibodies (also called
immunoglobulins) are proteins that help your body
find and kill germs. Each type of plasma cell makes
6 What are plasma cells?
8 How do plasma cells become multiple
9 What are M-proteins?
10 Symptoms of multiple myeloma
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