Myeloma Cancer- The Signs and Symptoms
Cancer, which is medically referred to as malignant neoplasm, is basically a group of diseases that are commonly characterized by the uncontrollable growth of cells. These cells tend to multiply uncontrollably ending up forming malignant tumors that end up affecting the part of the body that is nearby. Cancer can affect any part of the body although there are the common kinds of cancer such as breast cancer.
Myeloma cancer is another form of cancer that is becoming common by the day with more people getting affected daily. In this case, the plasma cells are the affected party. These are the blood cells responsible for production of antibodies. These abnormal cells get to pile up in the bones hence forming abnormal tissue areas commonly known as bone lesions. The damage normally extends to the bone marrow which in turn gets to affect the regular production of other blood cells.
Myeloma cancer is commonly known for causing immunodeficiency. This is a state at which the immune system of the body is compromised such that its ability to fight diseases is brought down. This leaves one at a high risk of getting infected by various kinds of diseases. The main reason behind the immunodeficiency is the production of paraprotein which is quite common in the case of myeloma.
Paraprotein is by itself a kind of antibody. It normally interferes with the regular production of the normal antibodies hence lowering the immunity system of the body. Paraprotein also brings about some kidney complications. On the other hand, myeloma also causes hypercalcemia which is basically the presence of very high levels of calcium in the body.
Myeloma cancer has a very wide variety of signs and symptoms. This is because the number of organs that can be affected by myeloma is quite high, meaning the symptoms get to vary. However, according to professionals in the medical fraternity, there are four main characteristics of myeloma cancer. They normally abbreviate these symptoms as C.R.A.B. The ‘C’ stands for ‘Calcium’. As earlier stated, mnemonics normally suffer from hypercalcemia.
Just as the name suggests, this is a kind of disorder in which the calcium levels of the blood get elevated. This refers to levels of calcium higher than 10.5 mg/dl or 2.6 mmol/L. The ‘R’ stands for ‘renal failure’ which simply refers to kidney failure. This is basically a condition in which the kidney is not in a position to adequately perform its job which is filtering off any wastes from the blood. In this case, it can either be chronic or acute depending on the extent of the cancer.
The ‘A’ stands for ‘anemia’ which is also a disorder of the blood. It particularly refers to a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin present in the blood as well as the number of red blood cells available. Generally, the oxygen-binding ability of the blood tends to decrease as either the hemoglobin molecules get deformed or are not enough in number to harvest ample oxygen for the blood. Last but not least, the ‘B’ stands for ‘bone lesions’. This a condition in which the bone tissues get damaged. In severe cases of myeloma cancer, the bone marrow also gets affected.
These are just but the main symptoms of myeloma cancer. In actual sense, there are several other symptoms that characterize this kind of cancer though they are not as popular as the C.R.A.B symptoms. One of them is that mnemonics tend to feel some kind of sharp bone pains. In most cases, this affects the ribs and spine region.
The pains tend to worsen when one gets to perform some very strainous activity. In other cases, old age also gets to make the pain more frequent. Actually this condition is quite hazardous as it might end up leading to other even more fatal disorders. For example, once the vertebrae column gets affected a lot; it may lead to a condition commonly referred to as spinal cord compression.
As earlier stated, hypercalcemia might lead to other body disfunctions. Most of these disfunctions are used as neurological symptoms which include symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and general body weakness. Depending on the severity of paraprotein infection in the body, the body might suffer from hyperviscosity which in turn may cause visual problems and frequent headaches.
On the other hand, one may also end up suffering from certain infections, the most common ones being pyelonephritis and pneumonias. Infections are basically brought about by the presence of pathogens.
In this case, the E. coli pathogen is commonly responsible the pyelonephritis infection. S. aureus and S. pneumonia are just but a few of the pathogens responsible for the pneumonia infection.
These infections normally come about after a few months of chemotherapy. The reason behind this is the bare fact that the normal antibodies are now getting destroyed at a higher rate.