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Multiple Myeloma


  • 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.


  • 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!

Learn more about Multiple Myeloma (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.