The blood contains various different types of the cells (the red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells). Multiple myeloma, also called as Kahler’s disease is a cancer of plasma cells (a type of white blood cells normally responsible for the production of antibodies). Because they are present throughout the bone marrow, plasma cells that have undergone malignant transformation do so in clumps and usually at many sites, which explains the terminology multiple myeloma. Since the levels of plasma cells increase, so do the levels of proteins in one’s bloodstream. This may cause many other problems, including those with one’s immune system, red blood cell count, etc.
Causes and Symptoms
The exact cause of this, as for many other types of cancer
is still unknown. However, several factors have been linked to the starting of
myeloma. These include: exposure to very large doses of radiation,
genetic abnormalities, certain viral infections,
exposures to certain chemicals and other conditions in the workplace
(such as metallurgic industry workers, leather workers, shipyard workers,
etc.), immune system dysfunction,
Although the severity of the symptoms may vary from person
to person, the most common symptoms of this condition are: bone pain
(particularly in the ribs, pelvis, or back), recurrent infections, fatigue, presence
of monoclonal proteins in one’s blood, weight loss, frequent bone fractures, and
high levels of calcium in the blood. The high levels of calcium may, in turn,
cause other symptoms, such as dehydration, nausea, constipation, loss of
appetite, excessive urination, mental confusion, etc.
It is important that a person consult a doctor as soon as the first symptoms have presented themselves. This will increase the chances of a successful recovery.
medical treatment for this condition includes various medications, such as thalidomide,
corticosteroids, bortezomib, lenalidomide, etc.
Also, chemotherapy may be needed, or radiation therapy, to kill the myeloma cells.
There is no particular multiple myeloma diet that is prescribed for
myeloma cancer patients, as there is no evidence that a change of diet can help
treat myeloma. However, myeloma patients are advised to consume a healthy meal.
This may include:
- Fruits and vegetables. They contain substances that can
increase myeloma cancer life expectancy by increasing overall health.
- Nuts, avocado, olive oil. These should be consumed in
moderate amounts, while these are high in unsaturated fats.
- Whole-wheat bread and cereals. They contain substances
that might debilitate the cells that cause cancer.
- Food rich in calcium and vitamin D. These help strengthen the bone that has been weakened by the cancer, and vitamin D helps boost the immune system.
Also, it is important that myeloma patients avoid too fatty and spicy foods, because they may aggravate one’s symptoms.
There is still extensive research being carried out to find out which food has the properties that might help one fight off cancer. And, some day, a solution may be found.