Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects the plasma cells in the body. The name itself, myelo means marrow and oma means tumor.
It is a type of anomaly in the white blood cells which are responsible for the creation of antibodies. Multiple myeloma creates a situation in the body where excess abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow.
This accumulation interferes with the production of normal blood cells. What causes multiple myeloma cancer?
Causes of Multiple Myeloma Cancer
It’s not very clear what actually causes myeloma. But here are factors that can affect the development of multiple myeloma.
1. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
Studies done on people who have suffered multiple myeloma cancer has found that almost all of them had a medical condition known as Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) in which there is excessive amounts of large protein molecules (immunoglobulin) in the blood.
Generally, MGUS has no symptoms and does not really need any treatment as it does not affect the health condition of an individual. It will only appear in regular blood tests.
2. Genetics and family history
Research reveals that people who have a family member; sister, brother, parent or child who is positive for the medical conditions multiple myeloma or monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) have a significant chances of 2 or 3 that they too would develop either MGUS or multiple myeloma cancer.
People who do not have any family member who is positive to the condition have a significantly lower chances of developing either of the conditions.
3. Low immunity
Compared to the general population, people who are taking medication intended to lower immunity after an organ transplant surgery are more likely to develop multiple myeloma cancer.
Some studies and researches show that people who have HIV/ AIDS are also at a higher risk of developing the multiple myeloma cancer compared to people who do not have the virus.
- Roberto J Pessoa de Magalhães, María-Belén Vidriales, Bruno Paiva, Carlos Fernandez-Gimenez, Ramón García-Sanz, Maria-Victoria Mateos, Norma C Gutierrez, Quentin Lecrevisse, Juan F Blanco, Jose Hernández, Natalia de las Heras, Joaquin Martinez-Lopez, Monica Roig, Elaine Sobral Costa, Enrique M Ocio, Martin Perez-Andres, Angelo Maiolino, Marcio Nucci, Javier De La Rubia, Juan-Jose Lahuerta, Jesús F San-Miguel, & Alberto Orfao (2013). Analysis of the Immune System of Multiple Myeloma Patients Achieving Long-Term Disease Control by Multidimensional Flow Cytometry.
4. Weight and diet
Most of the evidence points to the fact that people who are either obese or overweight are at a higher risk of developing myeloma as compared to people who have a normal BMI.
Although not much of studies have been done on how diet affects the development of myeloma, some suggest that some unhealthy diet plans may cause individuals to develop myeloma.
Eating healthy and maintaining a balanced diet keeps body weight healthy and is said to be a way of preventing myeloma.
A study has revealed that taller women may be at a higher risk of developing multiple myeloma cancer than women who are shorter.
It is however, unclear whether height really affect the development of myeloma.
Myeloma is not very common in people who are under the age of 40. Most people diagnosed with myeloma are above the age of 45.
Research suggests that people who have occupations that expose them to chemicals are more prone to developing myeloma.
There are certain chemicals that can be associated to the development of myeloma in some people which are found in occupations around petrol, farming, rubber manufacturing, wood working, painting, fire fighting and the leather industry.
People who are exposed to high levels of radiation are more likely to develop myeloma.
Myeloma is slightly more common in men than in women.
Many of myeloma patients say that they have been using acetaminophen, insulin, gout medication and a type of steroid known as prednisone.
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