Cancer » Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a kind of cancer that develops in the plasma cells and is also known as Kahler's disease or plasma cell myeloma. Plasma cells are a kind of white blood cells and perform the main function of producing antibodies. These cells are also known as plasmocytes, effector B cells or plasma B cells.
Understanding multiple myeloma
Plasma cell myeloma is basically the cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells play an important role in producing antibodies for human body. These antibodies protect us from viral attack, bacterial or other infections and keep our immune system intact. Absence or shortage of antibodies can be highly dangerous as it makes the person more prone to viral attacks. Also, it reduces the resistance power considerably and leads to frequent health issues. Weak immune system is very advantageous for cancerous cells to develop and spread infection in the body.
Plasma cells develop and reside mainly in the bone marrow. These cells are produced by the body as per the requirements B-cells, when exposed to pathogens, develop into the plasma cells and start producing antibodies. In the bone marrow, these plasma cells work in coordination with other kinds of white blood cells (WBC), platelets and red blood cells (RBC).
Multiple myeloma develops with the invasion of healthy tissues by cancerous cells. These cancerous cells target the live tissues present in the bone marrow and prevent them from functioning properly. The main function of tissues is to look after the requirement of blood and oxygen and supply the same to various parts of the body. Tissues also perform other vital functions depending upon their location. Hence, they form an important part of any organ and play a constructive role in the cell-development process. When such tissues are invaded and infected by the malignant cells, the whole process of normal cell-growth gets a setback.
The malignant or cancerous cells replace damaged tissues and adjacent cells. They also force the normal cells to behave abnormally and uncontrollably. This leads to rapid division and growth of cells and also prevents the normal cells from dying naturally. This results into excess and unnecessary number of cells in the infected area and a lump of dead and inefficient cells is formed. This lump is generally known as tumor. The tumor may also spread to other parts of the body through bloodstream or lymph nodes and infect the areas it invades.
Tumor can be benign or cancerous depending upon the intensity and nature of the disease. Benign tumor develops slowly and is not harmful to tissues and cells. It restricts itself to a particular area and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. It can be eliminated safely by undergoing surgery or other suitable treatment and do not have tendency to recur. But it may develop into a cancerous tumor if not treated in time. Cancerous tumor is another kind of tumor and is the main source of cancer disease. Cells in the cancerous tumors damage and kill tissues and healthy cells and replace them by infected cells. These infected cells spread rapidly to other areas and from separate tumors in the areas they attack. The tumors are hard to eliminate completely as they have a tendency to reappear even if treated previously.
Useful tips to avoid multiple myeloma
Kahler's disease is rarely curable if detected in advanced stages. Hence, it is important to detect and diagnose the disease in its early or middle stages and minimize the risk of getting severely affected by the cancer. The disease originates mainly in the plasma cells present in the bone marrow. Hence, people who have been treated for bone cancer earlier are at a higher risk of being prone to plasma cell myeloma. Smoking, excess consumption of alcohol and tobacco chewing may or may not be the direct cause of the disorder but make you more prone to the disease. The main reason is smoking and tobacco chewing that play a destructive role in weakening your lungs and respiratory system. Also, they may lead to other types of cancers and make your body less resistant. Bad immune system is highly beneficial for cancerous cells to infect the plasma cells.
Age is an important factor for being prone to the disease. Usually, the disease occurs in people above 45 years of age and is more common in men as compared to women. Black people are more prone to Kahler's disease as compared to whites. Good health and balanced diet is very important to resist or fight the cancerous infection. Hygienic food with regular inclusion of salads, vegetables and fruits is very advantageous to maintain a strong immune system. Obesity is one of the major causes of plasma cell myeloma and must be taken seriously. Regular exercise helps to maintain the flexibility of body and prevents obesity.
Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals and radiation can be harmful for body tissues and make them more susceptible to Kahler's disease. Personal medical history or family history of the cancer can be a big disadvantage. Persons suffering from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) are at a slightly higher risk of being infected by the disease.
Bone pain and frequent infections is one of the basic symptoms of the disease. Easy and unexplained breaking of bones is another important indication of the presence of cancerous cells. Some may also suffer from night sweats, anemia, frequent fever or fatigue. Unexpected weight loss and loss of appetite is an indirect indicator of the disorder.
Multiple myeloma can be detected in early stages if proper and reliable medical tests are undergone. Many common techniques like biopsy, ultrasound, X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI scan), positron emission tomography scan (PET scan) and endoscopy are used to examine the body internally. Radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy are some of the important lines of treatment recommended depending upon the nature and intensity of the disease and patient's sustainability to the treatment to be undertaken.