Multiple myeloma is bone marrow cancer. It has no cure as of today. It is a cancer that is born in our immune system and involves a certain type of antibody-producing cell called "plasma cell." These plasma cells at some point start going bonkers and proliferating in the bone marrow. Our immune system becomes progressively weakened as a result of its inability to produce healthy antibodies, so we are prone to infections (we are 15 times more likely to develop infections than healthy folks) etc. The symptoms of myeloma vary from patient to patient and range from bone pain to anaemia and nervous system problems.
The acronym CRAB is frequently used to classify symptomatic myeloma: C stands for Calcium (elevated), R for Renal (failure), A for anaemia and B for Bone (lesions).
A good definition can be found on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website: Multiple myeloma (also known as myeloma or plasma cell myeloma) is a progressive hematologic (blood) disease. It is a cancer of the plasma cell, an important part of the immune system that produces immunoglobulins (antibodies) to help fight infection and disease. Multiple myeloma is characterized by excessive numbers of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and overproduction of intact monoclonal immunoglobulin (IgG, IgA, IgD, or IgE) or Bence-Jones protein (free monoclonal kappa and lambda light chains). Hypercalcemia, anemia, renal damage, increased susceptibility to bacterial infection, and impaired production of normal immunoglobulin are common clinical manifestations of multiple myeloma. It is often also characterized by diffuse osteoporosis, usually in the pelvis, spine, ribs, and skull.
More information can be found on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website: http://tinyurl.com/5c4s9
Another good source of information is the International Myeloma Foundation website: http://tinyurl.com/2u4ehl
What I have read and been told is that myeloma is a "highly treatable" cancer. And based on my research and my test results, I have come to believe that the progression of this cancer can be slowed down and kept stable through certain scientifically-based alternative treatments, at least in some particular cases (MGUS and non-aggressive forms of MM). There is much that can be done in those cases.
When I got my myeloma diagnosis in late 2005, it was a wake-up call. I suppose that until then I had been in denial. My previous attitude had been: it won’t happen to me.
But it did.