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Multiple Myeloma


Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell. Plasma cells make antibodies to help your body fight infection. You may have high amounts of plasma cells that do not work correctly. Your body may make so many plasma cells or antibodies that they damage your bones and other healthy tissue.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Chemotherapy, and similar medicines, are given to stop myeloid cells from growing and to kill new cancer cells.
  • Steroids are given to decrease inflammation and side effects from chemotherapy.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Bisphosphonates strengthen your bones and decrease your risk for bone fractures.


  • Blood and urine tests are used to find or measure antibodies, called M proteins. The tests may also be used to monitor your calcium levels and kidney function.
  • A bone marrow biopsy is a sample from your bone to check for myeloma cells.
  • An x-ray, CT, PET, or MRI may be done to find cancer in your body. You may be given contrast liquid to help the cancer show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.


  • Radiation therapy uses x-rays or gamma rays to treat cancer. Radiation kills cancer cells and may stop the cancer from spreading. It may be given alone or with chemotherapy.
  • A transplant is a procedure to give bone marrow or stem cells through an IV. The stem cells go to your bone marrow and begin to make new, healthy blood cells.


Multiple myeloma may increase your risk for a bone fracture. The protein released by the myeloma cells may harm your kidney and cause kidney failure. Multiple myeloma may also increase your risk for high calcium levels. High calcium and treatment for multiple myeloma can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Treatment may also increase your risk for infection and harm your heart or lungs. Treatment may also increase your risk for other cancers.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Learn more about Multiple Myeloma (Inpatient Care)

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.