Multiple Myeloma


Multiple Myeloma (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • Multiple myeloma is also called myeloma. It is a cancer of the white blood cells (WBCs) which are called plasma cells. Normally, your body makes more WBCs and plasma cells only when fighting diseases and infections. Myeloma occurs when myeloma cells (abnormal plasma cells) grow and divide without control or order. These cells often make too much tissue (tumor). There is no known cause of multiple myeloma but you cannot catch it from someone else. You may be at higher risk if you are exposed to radiation and certain chemicals, such as herbicides or pesticides. The most common symptom of myeloma is bone pain, usually in the back or ribs. You may also have frequent infections, bone fractures (breaks), weakness, or trouble urinating or having a BM.

  • Myeloma is diagnosed by checking monoclonal (M) proteins in your blood or urine. Other tests may also be done, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or bone marrow biopsy. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, or bone marrow transplant. Surviving myeloma depends upon how far it has spread when the cancer is found. The chances of controlling myeloma are better when it is found and treated early.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • If you are getting chemotherapy, it is important to take your medicine exactly as you are told.

  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take at home to take away or decrease pain. Your caregiver will tell you how much to take and how often to take it. Take the medicine exactly as directed by your caregiver. Avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs). Do not wait until the pain is too bad before taking your medicine. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it. Tell caregivers if the pain medicine does not help or if your pain comes back too soon.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Eating well with cancer and cancer treatment:

Good nutrition can:

  • help you feel better during treatment and decrease treatment side effects

  • decrease your risk of infection

  • help you have more energy and feel stronger

  • help you maintain a healthy weight and heal faster
Eat a variety of healthy foods to get the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that your body needs. You may need to change the foods you eat depending on your treatments and side effects. You also may need to eat more calories than usual. Work with a dietitian to plan the best meals and snacks for you. Ask if you should add vitamins to your diet.

Drinking liquids:

Men 19 years old and older should drink about three Liters of liquid each day (about 13 eight-ounce cups). Women 19 years old and older should drink about two Liters of liquid each day (about 9 eight-ounce cups). If you are used to drinking liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee, these can also be counted in your daily liquid amount. Drink even more liquids if you will be outdoors in the sun for a long time. You should also drink more liquids if you are exercising. Try to drink enough liquid each day, and not just when you feel thirsty. The best liquids to drink have water, sugar, and salt in them. These liquids help your body hold in fluid and help prevent dehydration. Ask your caregiver what liquids are best to drink if you are on a low salt or low sugar diet.

Wellness hints:

  • Colds or the flu: Stay away from people who have colds or the flu. Ask your caregiver if you should get shots to keep from getting the flu and pneumonia. Also try to stay away from large groups of people. This decreases your chance of getting sick.

  • Exercise: Exercise makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and helps keep you healthy. Begin to exercise slowly and do more as you get stronger. Talk with your primary healthcare provider before you start an exercise program.

  • Sports: Avoid playing contact sports since you may bleed, bruise, or break bones easily.

  • Walking and mobility: Your bones may become weak and break more easily. You may need to wear a neck brace or use a walker to keep you from falling.

For support and more information:

Multiple myeloma is a life-changing disease. Accepting that you have myeloma is hard. You and those close to you may feel scared, depressed, angry, or sad. These are normal feelings. Talk to your caregivers, family, or friends about your feelings. You may also want to join a support group. This is a group of people who also have myeloma. Call or write one of the following organizations for more information:

  • American Cancer Society
    250 Williams Street
    Atlanta , GA 30303
    Phone: 1- 800 - 227-2345
    Web Address:
  • National Cancer Institute
    6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 300
    Bethesda , MD 20892-8322
    Phone: 1- 800 - 422-6237
    Web Address:


  • You are vomiting (throwing up) and cannot keep any food or liquids down.

  • You cannot make it to your radiation or chemotherapy visit.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have chills, cough, or feel weak and achy.

  • Your pain is worse or does not go away after taking your medicine.

  • You cannot hold your urine or control your BM.

  • You have questions or concerns about myeloma, medicine, or care.


  • You had a bad fall and you may have broken a bone.

  • You are too dizzy to stand or have trouble keeping your balance.

  • You cannot think clearly.

  • You feel weak or numb on one side of your body.

  • You have chest pain, pounding or racing of your heart, or trouble breathing.
This is an emergency. Call 911 or 0 (operator) for an ambulance to get to the nearest hospital. Do not drive yourself!

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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