Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are a part of the immune system. There are several types of normal plasma cells that make antibodies, or proteins, to protect us from infections. In multiple myeloma, a specific type of plasma cell become cancerous and grow quickly. This limits the body's ability to make normal blood cells in the bone marrow. These cancerous plasma cells can also make antibodies that don't work properly. These antibodies can damage the kidneys and fail to fight infection properly.
More than 22,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with multiple myeloma each year. Most people who have the disease are age 65 or older. Causes of the disease are mostly unknown.
- Symptoms of multiple myeloma
- How transplant can treat multiple myeloma
- Transplant outcomes for multiple myeloma
1. SEER Cancer Statistics Factsheets: Myeloma. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/mulmy.html