What is myeloma? It is a cancer that begins in the bone marrow and affects white blood cells called plasma cells. Healthy plasma cells create antibodies that fight off germs and infections. When the plasma cells become abnormal (myeloma cells), they cease to perform their usual function and begin to reproduce out of control. Excessive numbers of myeloma cells collect within the bone marrow and crowd out the normal white cells, red cells and platelets.
Are there different types of myeloma? Yes, it has four main types, named after where the cancer forms. These are:
- Multiple myeloma – This is the most common form of myeloma. Multiple myeloma affects several areas of the body
- Plasmacytoma – In this form of myeloma, only one site in the body is affected by the disease.
- Localized myeloma – In this form, several nearby sites are affected
- Extramedullary myeloma – In this form, tissue other than bone marrow are affected such as skin, muscles or lungs
What does University of Minnesota Cancer Care offer? Our blood cancer experts specialize in treating myeloma cancers. Our team includes:
- Multiple Myeloma clinical trials
- hematology/oncology experts
- blood and marrow transplant experts
- pharmacists with expertise in chemotherapy and drug interactions
- radiation therapists
- physical and occupational therapists
- social workers