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Multiple Myeloma Recurrence

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Multiple myeloma recurrence is rightly feared by patients who are diagnosed and treated for multiple myeloma. Recurrence of multiple myeloma is tough to avoid in most cases but its pace can certainly be lowered.

What causes multiple myeloma recurrence?

Myeloma affects the blood system, especially, the plasma cells that cause rapid production of certain antibodies. These are present throughout the body and no single cure can completely kill the damaged cell production system. Also multiple myeloma affects the whole skeletal structure while also causing damage to organs in the vicinity of the bones. This makes complete treatment a near impossibility. This also means that even though you underwent chemotherapy or radiation therapy and even stem cell treatment, chances are high that the rogue cancer cells may be hidden in your body. These cells will abnormally multiply and again show up as resurgence of multiple myeloma. Also it is not possible to treat the whole damaged bone marrow present throughout the skeletal system. This means some part of bone marrow may keep on producing cancerous cells.

What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma symptoms:

As with initial symptoms of multiple myeloma, symptoms of recurrence are similar. These symptoms are,

  • Recurrence of diseases like common cold with lowering of immunity
  • Lowering of body weight often seen with recurrence of anemia
  • Possibility of bone fractures in already weakened bones
  • Recurrent pain related to the joints and bones
  • Pain that spreads to other organs

If you see such symptoms, do meet up with your doctor along with previous medical reports and prescriptions that can help him understand the possibility of recurrence of multiple myeloma.

Diagnostic tests to check for multiple myeloma recurrence: Multiple myeloma recurrence must be ascertained with the help of diagnostic tests. These tests may be more comprehensive than those that you underwent during the initial ascertainment of multiple myeloma.

Diagnostics tests include:

  • Bone biopsy where a sample of bone marrow is used to determine presence of cancerous cells
  • X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan which show bone lesions and bone fractures or bone deformation
  • Blood tests which look for high levels of certain antibodies and serum creatinine
  • Urine tests which look for elevated calcium levels and presence of certain markers like proteins

Based on such tests, staging of the multiple myeloma cancer is done. Staging systems commonly used for staging multiple myeloma are the International Staging System developed by International Myeloma Working Group and the Durie Salmon Staging System. These staging systems look for microglobulin, albumin, calcium and serum paraprotein levels to determine the prognosis of the patient and the course of treatment.

Treatment for multiple myeloma recurrence: If you have not undergone stem cell transplant previously, chances are your doctors may advise you do so immediately. Multiple myeloma treatment involves using chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill any cancer causing cells usually found in the bone marrow. Once the bone marrow is cleared, stem cells harvested from a matched donor or your twin or stem cells previously extracted from your body will be re infused in your body. This promotes growth of healthy cells that further divides in appropriate proportions as red, white and plasma cells. You may have to undertake special medication to avoid rejection of the new stem cells by your body. Although, this is risky as well as extremely expensive procedure, its benefits far outweigh its possible complications

How do I prevent multiple myeloma recurrence: Unfortunately, there are no fixed or sure fire ways to avoid multiple myeloma. Recurrence or remission can be delayed or skipped altogether instead by following basic precautions that ensure overall health and fitness. An individual's overall fitness is at risk as his age advances. This is why exercise and diet is extremely important to promote overall health. Diet rich in fruits, vegetable, leafy vegetables, properly cooked meat ensure better nutrition and health. Stick to avoiding spicy, salty or oily food and alcohol. Regular exercises like yoga and aerobics as well as long walks will ensure that your bone strength is maintained and they will promote better immunity.

How do I cope with multiple myeloma recurrence: It may indeed come as a shock that you have to be treated from scratch for multiple myeloma. Don't let the mind boggling treatments ruffle your feathers in any way. Keep a focused approach on the necessary treatments. Concentrate on promoting general health while undergoing these treatments,

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplants will certainly benefit if you supplement them with rehabilitative therapies such as exercise, yoga, aerobics and walking. Most importantly, keep your spirits high. If need be, take help of your colleagues, friends, family and multiple myeloma support groups to assist your treatment.

Multiple myeloma recurrence is a dreadful possibility but you can certainly take steps to delay it. Even if you have to face such a possibility, do not lose hope.

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