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Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma Cancer

Myeloma is a type of cancer that begins in cells located in the bone marrow called plasma cells. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside many of our large bones. Bone marrow produces several different types of blood cells. Because myeloma can occur in several different places in the body, it is frequently called multiple myelomas.

The most common form of plasma cell cancer, myeloma can develop wherever the plasma cells are located. It can be found anywhere there is bone marrow, including the pelvis, spine, and ribcage.

The buildup of myeloma cells results in:

  • Fewer healthy, normal blood cells in the bone marrow
  • Weakened or damaged bones
  • Two kinds of bone cells work together to develop a bone into its proper shape:
  • Osteoblasts make bone
  • Osteoclasts dissolve bone

Myeloma cells produce a substance which stimulates osteoclasts and results in a faster destruction of bone. Complications include infection, bone pain and fractures.

Types of myelomas:

  • Smoldering or indolent multiple myelomas
  • Active multiple myelomas
  • Solitary plasmacytoma of the bone
  • Multiple solitary plasmacytomas
  • Extramedullary plasmacytoma
  • Light chain myeloma
  • Non-secretory myeloma
  • Immunoglobulin D (IgD) myeloma (rare)
  • Immunoglobulin E (IgE) myeloma (rare)

Multiple Myeloma Causes & Symptoms
Causes, Risk Factors & Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

It's not clear what causes most multiple myeloma. Scientists have found few risk factors that could affect a person’s chance of developing multiple myelomas.

Risk factors for multiple myeloma includes:

  • History of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
  • Age — risk for developing myeloma goes up with age. Most people diagnosed are 65 years of age or older.
  • Gender — men are slightly more likely to develop myeloma than women.
  • Race — myeloma is more than twice as common in African Americans than white Americans. The reason for this is not known.
  • Radiation
  • Workplace exposures
  • Having other plasma cell diseases
  • Family history of multiple myelomas
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Farming

Signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma includes:

  • Bone pain and bone damage and fractures
  • Symptoms caused by too much calcium in the blood
  • Swollen ankles
  • More prone to infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Nervous system problems — numbness, sudden/severe pain, tingling, muscle weakness, confusion, dizziness, carpal tunnel
  • Breathlessness
  • Increased thickening/stickiness of the blood — headaches, dizziness, weakness, drowsiness, fatigue, oozing cuts, blurred vision, bruising
  • Pale skin tone
  • High blood protein levels
  • Low white blood cell counts

Who Gets Multiple Myeloma Cancer
Who Gets Multiple Myeloma

Most individuals diagnosed with multiple myelomas are men. The risk of developing multiple myeloma increases with age and those of African ancestry have a higher risk of developing myeloma. The reasons for this increased risk are not known.

Approximately 0.7 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with myeloma at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.

Multiple Myeloma Cancer Prognosis
Prognosis if You Have Multiple Myeloma

According to the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database:

For all cases of multiple myelomas combined (in both adults and children), the 5-year relative survival is about 48.5 percent.

The number of new cases of myeloma was 6.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 3.3 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2009-2013 cases and deaths.

Approximately 0.7 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with myeloma at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.

In 2013, there were an estimated 95,688 people living with myeloma in the United States.

The 5-year relative survival rate for multiple myelomas:

  • Stage I and II (localized) – 69.6 percent
  • Stage III and IV (distant) – 47.4 percent

Orthodox Medicine

Depending on the stage of cancer and other factors, conventional treatment options include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Stem cell transplant
  • Targeted therapy
  • Palliative therapy

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.

  • “He experienced several health challenges in the past decade (i.e., open-heart surgery, prostate cancer, and, most recently, multiple myeloma). Coincidently, the drug that until recently helped treat the myeloma was vincristine, a purified alkaloid derived from the Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don, Apocynaceae). Vincristine is manufactured by the Eli Lilly company of Indianapolis, the company that funded Tyler's chair at Purdue. Further, the drug was discovered in a classic scenario of serendipity by Tyler's friend and colleague, the late Gordon Svoboda, who, while researching the periwinkle for its traditionally reputed antidiabetic activity, discovered its potential for treating certain cancers. Tyler had intended to write the story of Svoboda and vincrstine, as he considered it one of the great untold stories in pharmacognosy and drug discovery from plants.” ~

How to Prevent Multiple Myeloma Cancer
How to Prevent Multiple Myeloma

Screening tests are important ways to find cancer if you are at risk but do not have symptoms. Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve multiple myeloma outcomes.

Changes in lifestyle can help prevent many types of cancer. However, no known lifestyle changes can prevent myelomas.

Immune System Health
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 metastasisThe spread of cancer cells from the place where they first formed to another part of the body. In metastasis, cancer cells break away from the original (primary) tumor, travel through the blood or lymph system, and form a new tumor in other organs or tissues of the body. The new, metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are breast cancer cells, not lung cancer cells. (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 fatA type of fat with certain chemical properties that is usually solid at room temperature. Most saturated fats come from animal food products, but some plant oils, such as palm and coconut oil, also contain high levels. Eating saturated fat increases the level of cholesterol in the blood and the risk of heart disease..
  • 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

Healthy Diet
Healthy Diet

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

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK

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