Myeloma is a bone marrow cancer. It affects plasma cells in the bone marrow. As the cancerous plasma cells fill the bone marrow, you are not able to make enough normal blood cells.
This can lead to anemia, bleeding problems, and infections. Other symptoms include bone pain, fractures due to bone damage, and kidney damage.
Myeloma is sometimes called multiple myeloma or myelomatosis.
Problems which can develop include:
Anaemia. This occurs as the number of red blood cells goes down. This can cause tiredness, breathlessness and other symptoms. You may also look pale.
Blood clotting. This is due to low levels of platelets. This can cause easy bruising, bleeding from the gums, and other bleeding-related problems.
Serious infections. The abnormal plasma cells only make one type of antibody. This does not protect against infection. There is a reduced number of normal plasma cells and other types of white blood cells which usually combat infection. Therefore, serious infections are more likely to develop.
Causes & Symptoms of Bone Marrow Cancer
There may be no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Some people are diagnosed by chance because they have a blood test done for other reasons, which may detect early myeloma. As the disease progresses, symptoms develop.
The symptoms and problems are mainly due to the uncontrolled production of plasma cells in the bone marrow, and the excess amount of antibody (paraprotein) that the plasma cells make.
The increasing numbers of plasma cells in the bone marrow act like growing tumors inside the bones. They also make a chemical that can damage bone. In time, small parts of bone are destroyed and are called lytic lesions. Multiple myeloma means there are multiple areas in bones throughout the body which is affected.
The damage to bone can cause:
Bone pain. This is often the first symptom and can become severe. Any bone can be affected but the most common sites where pain first develops are the lower back, pelvis, and the ribs. The pain tends to be persistent and made worse by movement.
Fractures. Affected bones may easily break (fracture) following a mild injury or even no injury.
Compression of nerves coming out of the spinal cord. The compression usually happens because of fractures of the bones surrounding the spinal cord (the vertebrae). This can cause a variety of symptoms such as weakness in muscles of the legs, numbness of areas of the body or legs, bladder or bowel problems, and pain. If you have any of these symptoms you need to seek urgent medical attention.
Hypercalcaemia. This means a high level of calcium in the blood (due to the bone breaking down). This can:
• Make you very thirsty.
• Cause you to feel and be sick (nausea and vomiting).
• Develop a lack of fluid in the body (dehydration).
• Have constipation.
• Have kidney damage.
Who Gets Bone Marrow Cancer
Multiple myeloma is a relatively uncommon cancer. In the United States, the risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 143 (0.7 percent).
The most common bone marrow cancers include:
• AIDS-Associated Lymphomas
• Multiple Myeloma
• Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
• Aplastic Anemia
• Sickle Cell Anemia
• Bone Marrow Failures Disorder
Prognosis if You Have Bone Marrow Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database:
The 5-year survival for localized Hodgkin lymphoma is 91.5 percent. If cancer has metastasized, the rate is 77.3 percent.
The 5-year survival for localized non-Hodgkin lymphoma is 82.6 percent. If cancer has metastasized, the rate is 63.1 percent.
Additionally, these are the 5-year survival rates for:
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia — 68.1 percent
Acute Myeloid Leukemia — 26.6 percent
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia — 82.6 percent
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia — 65.1 percent
Myeloma — 48.5 percent
Conventional treatment options include:
• Blood transfusion
• Medication (zoledronic acid or pamidronic acid)
As far as orthodox treatments are concerned, both Thalidomide and Prednisone have been mentioned to extend life (this is not a cure). Also, Fosamax is frequently used to stop bone deterioration.
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK
Protocols: How to Treat Bone Marrow Cancer
Alternative cancer treatments for bone marrow cancer are mineral-based treatments utilizing supplements , dietary regimens, electromedicine, and essential oils.
Immune System Health
A healthy immune system remains your body's best defense. Not only is a weak immune system a major reason patients have cancer — and cancer itself can further weaken the immune system.
Beta glucans help regulate the immune system, making it more efficient. In addition, beta glucans stimulate white blood cells (lymphocytes) that bind to tumors or viruses and release chemicals to destroy it.
Beta Glucan has been approved in Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer. In fact, helping with cancer is just the beginning with Beta Glucan. There have thousands of studies showing the product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns, overcome mercury-induced immunosuppression (like Thimerosal, used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent metastasis (or the spreading of your cancer).
Harvard Medical School suggests following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy:
• Don't smoke.
• Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Control your blood pressure.
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
• Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
More Information: Building the Immune System
Your diet plays a role in a healthy immune system. The top vitamins your immune system needs to perform include:
• Vitamin C — helps to repair and regenerate tissues and aids in the absorption of iron
• Vitamin E — a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection
• Vitamin B6 — supports adrenal function and is necessary for key metabolic processes
• Vitamin A — aids immune function and helps provide a barrier against infections
• Vitamin D — modulates cell growth, promotes neuromuscular and immune function, and reduces inflammation
• Folate — key in development of red blood cells (a lack of Folate can make the body susceptible to cancer)
• Iron — helps your body carry oxygen to cells
• Selenium — slows the body's overactive responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer
• Zinc — slows the immune response and control inflammation in your body