What is multiple myeloma exactly? Dr. Peter Forsberg defines myeloma, explaining how it affects bone marrow, and shares details about myeloma statistics and treatment in the U.S.
Dr. Peter Forsberg is assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and is a specialist in multiple myeloma. More about Dr. Forsberg here.
So, multiple myeloma is a blood cancer. It comes from cells that live in your bone marrow called plasma cells. They’re part of your immune system. And when they do their job, they help protect you from infections.
They’re antibody producing cells. In myeloma, unfortunately something changes in those cells and they begin to grow and live beyond what they normally would. So, myeloma is a disease that results from that and when myeloma is diagnosed, it’s usually because those plasma cells or the antibody they produce has started to cause problems, to cause destructive changes or symptoms. So, that’s multiple myeloma.
And it’s maybe a little more common than people sometimes think. It’s got an unusual name, so most folks haven’t really heard of myeloma when they’re diagnosed with it. But it is the 14th most common cancer and there are about 30,000 cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. and at this point, more than 150,000 people living with myeloma. And that’s because more and more people are living with myeloma all the time. Advancements in treatment have made people live longer and live better with myeloma.