Myeloma can be complicated! It’s not staged like other cancers. How do you know if your myeloma is even considered active cancer? It can be inside or outside of the bone marrow, and it can express itself in different ways in different parts of the body. Thankfully, our myeloma expert faculty are here to help break down all these topics to be simple enough for everyone to understand. Below are some video excerpts from our HealthTree University curriculum.
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Myeloma isn’t staged like Breast or Lung cancer. This makes it hard to know how “high-risk” you are! There are criteria called the Revised Multiple Myeloma International Staging System (R-ISS) which Dr. Qazilbash breaks down in this video:
How is active myeloma defined? Myeloma defining events, which are also called CRAB symptoms, where the acronym CRAB stands for Calcium, Renal, Anemia, Bone lesions, are used to determine if a patient has active myeloma. CRAB symptoms and other criteria diagnosed by a doctor will determine if symptomatic myeloma requires clinical treatment.
When patients initially present with a plasma cell disorder, we have to characterize whether or not someone has a precursor condition such as MGUS or smoldering myeloma or whether or not they have a systemic myeloma that requires treatment. The actual level of M protein that defines myeloma technically speaking is 3 grams per deciliter.
Myeloma doesn’t always stay inside the bone marrow, and can move around and cause problems where it usually doesn’t.
Myeloma cells can aggregate into a ball, inside the bone or outside of the bone. Usually, it’s not as bad as that sounds.
Sometimes myeloma cells circulate in the bone marrow.
Primary = treatable if treated aggressively with treatment. Secondary = usually in more advanced patients and is harder to treat.
We have over 200 HealthTree University videos online at university.healthtree.org! Learn the basics (and the not-so-basics) of myeloma from some of the top myeloma doctors in the world!
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd).