Multiple Myeloma Types, Symptoms, and Treatments
Multiple myeloma — also known as Kahler disease, myelomatosis, and plasma cell myeloma — is a form of cancer that affects a type of white blood cell called plasma. As the most common type of plasma cell cancer, effective care requires an accurate diagnosis and precise treatment.
In multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) build up in the bone marrow, forming tumors in many bones of the body. These tumors may prevent the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells.
Types of Multiple Myeloma
Plasma cell abnormalities, or neoplasms, can be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign).
- Plasmacytoma is a type of blood cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). A plasmacytoma may turn into multiple myeloma.
- Macroglobulinemia is a condition in which the blood contains high levels of large proteins and is too thick to flow through small blood vessels. A common type is Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, which is a type of cancer.
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is not a cancer but can become cancer. Doctors usually recommend regular blood tests as the first step of treatment for MGUS.
Treatments for Multiple Myeloma
The Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers offers several different types of treatment for people with multiple myeloma, including:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Biologic therapy
- Stem cell transplant (SCT)/bone marrow transplant (BMT)
- Clinical trials
For more information, visit our Blood Cancers section.
Schedule an Appointment at UPMC CancerCenter
There are two ways to schedule an appointment at UPMC CancerCenter:
- Fill out the UPMC Request an Appointment Form online.
- Call 412-647-2811.
If you have an immediate medical need, please call 911 or go to an emergency room for treatment.