Myeloma is not a common type of cancer, but it does occur. Statistics has shown it to be less common in women than in men. Unfortunately, the cause of this cancer is unknown; however some myeloma risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment have been uncovered. Further research is still ongoing.
Understanding Myeloma Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment:
It is known that the following are risk factors for myeloma:
1. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), which almost everybody with myeloma has first. However, not all MGUS patients go on to develop myeloma.
2. Age, with myeloma being most common in ages over 65, and least common in those under 40.
3. Race, with African-Caribbean people being twice as likely to develop it than white people
4. Radiation, with exposure significantly increasing the chance of developing it, particularly for nuclear power employees.
5. Family history
6. Weight, with research showing that those who are overweight are at a slightly increased chance of developing it
7. A weak immune system, for instance, in people with HIV or in those who must suppress their immune system (after organ transplants, for instance)
8. Autoimmune diseases, particularly lupus, hemolytic anemia, and pernicious anemia
9. Occupation, if exposed to harmful substances. The only proven link so far, however, is those who work in nuclear power plants.
Myeloma Is Not an Infectious Disease:
In terms of diagnosis, myeloma is usually uncovered when people see their physician with symptoms. Other times, however, the diagnosis is made after a hospital admission. Specialists can review the symptoms someone presents with, and determine whether there are any further tests required.
In terms of myeloma risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment, there are various options available to have the condition treated. Of great importance is that patients are fully involved in making treatment decisions. Patients should be presented with different options and information on those, enabling them to decide what they would want to try. Common treatment options include:
1. Chemotherapy, which is a common form of cancer treatment. It is usually injected into the vein, although capsules and tablets are also available
2. Steroids, which can help destroy many of the myeloma cells. Additionally, they improve the efficiency of targeted therapy and chemotherapy.
3. Targeted therapies, changing how cells divide and grow
4. Bone marrow and stem cell transplants, often together with high dose chemotherapy
5. Symptom control, which can happen in a variety of different ways, from relaxation techniques to anti-anxiety medication
6. Supportive treatments, which are usually offered to treat the cancer and its treatment's side effects.
7. Clinical trials, whereby people try medication that has not yet been approved in order to determine whether it may be beneficial in the future
A lot of people worry about what life will be like after cancer. Treatment is often harsh and life changing, and it may seem that getting back to normal is an impossibility. Luckily, there is a lot of advice and information out there, as well as strong support groups. Cancer no longer has to be a death sentence.