The cancer in the bone marrow, also known as multiple myeloma, is extremely common among people over 65 years and mainly affects men.
The problem interferes with the production of plasmocytes, cells responsible for the formation of immunoglobulins ( proteins that help fight cases of infections with viruses and bacteria).
The cases of the disease are rare in younger individuals, affecting only 2% of the population under 40 years of age.
With the weakening of the immune system the body can suffer with several consequences. The most common are problems with bones, kidneys and changes in red blood cell count (red blood cells).
Types of myeloma
There are variations in the cases of the disease according to the types of immunoglobulins that have undergone changes in their production. The most common are: IgG, IgA and IgM.
Main risk factors
Despite being considered a disease with no apparent cause, it is known that some factors can interfere with its development. The main ones are: being African-American or male; having a family history of the disease; be over 65 years old.
Genetic conditions can also be linked to the onset of multiple myeloma, such as: having a solitary plasmacytoma or suffering from a monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (GMSI).
The signs of the disease usually appear when the problem is already at an advanced stage. In these cases the patient may experience: sudden weight loss, anemia , kidney problems, increased levels of calcium in the bloodstream and pain in the bones.
Diagnosis and treatment
From the identification of the aforementioned symptoms, it is essential that the individual seek medical attention. The specialists most indicated to treat cases of multiple myeloma are: oncologist and hematologist.
After the diagnosis of the disease, the doctor in charge will indicate substances for use via intravenous injection. And, when necessary, the patient must undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The drugs most used in the treatment are thalidomide, lenalidomide and bortezomib.