Cancer has become one of the most deadly diseases affecting people all over the world. This particular type of cancer will reportedly affect more than 30,000 adults in the United States alone in 2017.
What is multiple myeloma?
It is actually a type of cancer which is formed due to malignant plasma cells which develop in the bone marrow and drastically multiply. Normally, plasma cells create antibodies that help to fight off infections. They play a major role in your immune system, but in this case, they start to malfunction by discharging too much protein into your blood and bone marrow. Typically, the bone marrows affected most are in the ribs, spine, hips, pelvic bones, and even the shoulders.
What are the causes of this disease?
So far there hasn’t been any concrete evidence which points to a reason or cause of this disease, although research in still ongoing. However, patterns indicate that African Americans are more at risk than other ethnicities. Age seems to be the most significant risk factor for this disease, with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation reporting that 96 percent of these cases often occur with people over age 40. Additionally, 63 percent of these people are normally over age 65. Research also indicates that family history also plays a role, along with certain environmental factors such as exposure to asbestos and various dust particles.
Are there any symptoms?
The most common symptoms are fatigue, weight loss due to loss of appetite, confusion, increased vulnerability to infections, nausea and vomiting, bone fractures and bone pain, change in urination pattern (increased or decreased frequency), and impaired kidney function.
Can you protect yourself against multiple myeloma?
There are certain things you can do to give yourself the best chance against this disease. Firstly, if there is a history of this cancer in your family, it is important to get a cancer screening as early as possible since early detection is integral for surviving certain cancers. As lifestyle choices impact your health it is important that you make healthy choices such as avoiding tobacco and cigarettes and limiting your alcohol intake. Make sure you maintain a healthy weight by not only eating healthy foods, but by making physical activity a regular part of your routine. If you work in industries where you are exposed to pesticides, insecticides, heavy metals and petroleum products you must take precautions that limit your exposure regarding the inhalation of these products. Always wear a dust mask and proper clothing if you work in these types of environments.
For those who are already battling the disease, there are certain things that you can do to improve your chances of survival. Firstly, educate yourself as much as you can, and don’t hesitate to ask your doctor as many questions as you deem necessary. You can also join a support group which will include other people who are also afflicted with the condition; they may be able to provide priceless tips to help you get through this illness.