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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Myeloma

Wētoto orotā

Illustration showing a bone with healthy bone marrow and a section with damaged white blood cells and myeloma cellsMyeloma (also called multiple myeloma) is a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell made in your bone marrow, which is found in the centre of large bones. In myeloma, abnormal plasma cells build up in your bone marrow and release large amounts of a single antibody called a paraprotein.

Unlike many cancers, myeloma doesn't appear as a lump or tumour.

Myeloma can stop your bone marrow making enough healthy cells. It can also affect your kidneys.

Symptoms of myeloma include:

Myeloma is diagnosed using blood and urine tests, X-rays of bones and a bone marrow biopsy.

Treating myeloma

The treatment for myeloma varies and can include chemotherapy, radiotherapy and stem cell transplant.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2023.

Sources

See also:

Cancer

MGUS

What blood is made of

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Review key: HILEU-52883