September 14, 2020
Multiple myeloma is a malignant hematological disease characterized by an abnormal proliferation of plasma cells produced in the bone marrow, explains Dr. Mauricio Leon Rivera, Surgical Oncologist of our clinic.
“These cells normally produce antibodies whose function is to protect us from infections. When they become malignant, the possibility of infections increases because a bad or damaged cell does not produce good antibodies. The diagnosis is made through a biopsy of the bone marrow of the patient”, explains the specialist.
The main symptom is bone pain that occurs in 75% of patients. It can appear in any part of the body, but the most frequent is at the level of the spine and/or ribs. Also, there may be bruising, unexplained fractures, frequent infections, fatigue, shortness of breath, and/or weight loss for no apparent reason.
For the diagnosis, imaging tests such as X-rays are performed, as well as “flow cytometry” and/or “cytogenetics” studies on the diseased bone marrow sample, which serves to identify the type of malignant cell and its alteration at the level of the chromosomes, to assess which treatment is the most appropriate for the patient.
Dr. Leon states that, in general, this disease is usually diagnosed in people over 50, especially between 60 and 65. It is rare in people under 40.
It should be mentioned that the World Multiple Myeloma Day was commemorated on September 5, an international celebration established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to inform and raise awareness in society about this disease, concludes the doctor.
Dr. Mauricio Leon
Surgical Oncologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma