More information about Multiple Myeloma
Plasma cells produce antibodies and therefore play an important part in our immune system. Each plasma cell produces only one type of antibody. If your body produces too many of one type of plasma cell, that one type of antibody will be present in excess. In patients with Multiple Myeloma, one type of plasma cell shows uncontrolled malignant growth which results in a large amount of one type of antibody fragment, called M-protein. These large amounts are harmful to bones, organs and tissues. Moreover, the uncontrolled growth of the plasma cells in the bone marrow take up the space other useful bone marrow cells would otherwise take.
Multiple Myeloma is difficult to diagnose because patients often have rather vague symptoms in the beginning which could also have other causes. Common symptoms are non-specific back pain, pain in the ribs or tiredness. Many patients therefore wait too long before they visit their doctor, and when they finally do, the doctor often, understandably, does not make the diagnosis immediately.