NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Multiple Myeloma - page 9

NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Multiple Myeloma
Version 1.2012
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1.4 Symptoms of multiple myeloma
In a healthy person, there are plenty of normal blood cells and all five classes
of antibodies. In a person with myeloma, too few normal blood cells are made
when the bone marrow is full of myeloma cells. Likewise, normal antibodies
are outnumbered by the one class of flawed antibodies made by the myeloma
cells. As a result, symptoms of the cancer will appear. When myeloma is
causing symptoms, it is called active myeloma. When myeloma isn’t causing
symptoms, it is called smoldering or asymptomatic myeloma. Common
symptoms of active myeloma include:
Fatigue and feeling weak
Fatigue is severe tiredness despite getting enough sleep. Fatigue and feeling
weak are symptoms of anemia. Anemia is a low number of red blood cells.
Anemia can be caused by too many myeloma cells crowding out red blood
cells in bone marrow.
Bruising or bleeding easily
Platelets help heal wounds and stop bleeding by forming blood clots. Bruising
or bleeding easily is a symptom of a low number of platelets. Too many
myeloma cells in the bone marrow can crowd out platelets.
Frequent infections and fevers
Fever is a sign that your body is trying to fight off an infection. Frequent fever
and infections is a symptom of too few white blood cells. A low number of white
blood cells can result from too many myeloma cells in bone marrow.
Proteins that
help the body fight off
Bone marrow:
The soft
tissue in the center of
Myeloma cell:
A plasma
cell that has become a
cancer cell
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
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