Myeloma cancer, also known as the multiple myeloma, plasma cell myeloma, or as Kahler's disease, is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell normally in charge for the production of antibodies. The genetic factor is one of the most significant causes of myeloma cancer and individuals with first-degree relatives of multiple myeloma patients should get regular physical examinations in order to prevent and reverse this illness.
Understanding myeloma cancer
Myeloma cancer affects plasma cells, a kind of white blood cells present in the bone marrow. The name of the disease is derived from Greek word myelo, which means “bone marrow”. Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside of the bones, and most of the blood cells are normally developed from stem cells, found in the bone marrow. These stem cells mature into different sorts of blood cells. Myeloma cancer starts with the plasma cells or white blood cells responsible for the production of antibodies. Antibodies are important for the proper functioning of the immune system as they help protect our bodies from viruses, bacteria and other harmful environmental factors.
Like any other cancer, myeloma cancer begins with mutations of plasma cells. The abnormal plasma cells are multiplying into numerous myeloma cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and gradually damage the outer, solid, part of the bone. If the disease affects a couple of different the bones, or other tissues and organs, it is called “multiple myeloma”.
Causes of myeloma cancer
The exact cause of myeloma cancer is not yet known but it is estimated that certain risk factors, and their combination, play a significant role in the development of this disease.
Growing older increases one’s chances of developing myeloma. According to the scientific reports, most of the diagnosed patients were older than 60 at the time they were diagnosed. This disease is very rare in people younger than 35.
Race is another significant factor, for yet unknown reasons. This disease strikes mostly African Americans and its occurrence is reasonably low in Asian Americans.
Men are at a slightly highest risk. Approximately 11,200 men and 8,700 women are diagnosed with multiple myeloma each year in the United States.
History of a monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS, is another risk factor. Approximately 1% of all patients with MGUS in the United States, develops multiple myeloma each year.
Studies have also found that an individual’s risk of multiple myeloma may be higher if a close relative had this disease.