Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a bone cancer. It starts in plasma cells, which help the body fight infections by killing germs. These cells are in the soft tissue inside your bones, called bone marrow. 

When plasma cells become cancerous, they grow out of control and can cause tumors in bone marrow. Since this can happen in several places, it’s called multiple myeloma. The disease can also cause bone fractures, kidney damage and anemia.

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer that typically affects people who are 65 to 70 years old.

Treatment

Multiple myeloma can’t be cured, but treatments can slow it down. 

If you have multiple myeloma but don’t have any symptoms, treatment may not be necessary. This is called “smoldering myeloma’’ and should be monitored by a doctor. 

Standard treatments for multiple myeloma symptoms include: 

  • Chemotherapy and other drugs 
  • Radiation 
  • Surgery
  • Bone marrow transplant (also called stem cell transplant)
  • Bisphosphonates (to help bones stay strong)
  • Plasmapheresis (to remove myeloma protein from the blood)

Care Team

You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
David Claxton, MD David Claxton, MD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
W. Christopher Ehmann, MD W. Christopher Ehmann, MD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Heath Mackley, MD, FACRO Heath Mackley, MD, FACRO Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Seema Naik, MD Seema Naik, MD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Witold Rybka, MD, FRCPC Witold Rybka, MD, FRCPC Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Henry Wagner Jr., MD Henry Wagner Jr., MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Hong Zheng, MD, PhD Hong Zheng, MD, PhD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Shin Mineishi, MD Shin Mineishi, MD View Researcher Profile

Locations

Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585

Clinical Trials

Groups, Classes and Support

Patients and family members affected by lymphoma, leukemia or myeloma are invited to join a monthly support group. Support groups allow you to share your challenges, concerns and thoughts with others who have similar experiences.

Our support group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Meet at 5:30 p.m. in the Family Lounge on the seventh floor of the hospital in the north lobby. Patients and caregivers are welcome.

For additional information please contact Mitzi Lowe, RN, at 717-531-4669.

Prevention and Screening

We don’t know how to prevent multiple myeloma. In most cases, this cancer is not hereditary. It is unclear whether environmental factors contribute to this cancer.

Screening can be done with a blood test.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that starts in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue found inside most bones. It helps make blood cells.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of multiple myeloma are:

  • Fatigue 
  • Frequent infections
  • Bone pain, especially in the ribs, spine and hips
  • Bleeding 
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs
  • Bone fractures without trauma
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Anemia

Diagnosis

Test used to diagnose the disease include: 

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Imaging tests of bones
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a bone cancer. It starts in plasma cells, which help the body fight infections by killing germs. These cells are in the soft tissue inside your bones, called bone marrow. 

When plasma cells become cancerous, they grow out of control and can cause tumors in bone marrow. Since this can happen in several places, it’s called multiple myeloma. The disease can also cause bone fractures, kidney damage and anemia.

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer that typically affects people who are 65 to 70 years old.

Multiple myeloma can’t be cured, but treatments can slow it down. 

If you have multiple myeloma but don’t have any symptoms, treatment may not be necessary. This is called “smoldering myeloma’’ and should be monitored by a doctor. 

Standard treatments for multiple myeloma symptoms include: 

  • Chemotherapy and other drugs 
  • Radiation 
  • Surgery
  • Bone marrow transplant (also called stem cell transplant)
  • Bisphosphonates (to help bones stay strong)
  • Plasmapheresis (to remove myeloma protein from the blood)
You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.
David Claxton, MD David Claxton, MD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
W. Christopher Ehmann, MD W. Christopher Ehmann, MD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Heath Mackley, MD, FACRO Heath Mackley, MD, FACRO Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Seema Naik, MD Seema Naik, MD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Witold Rybka, MD, FRCPC Witold Rybka, MD, FRCPC Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Henry Wagner Jr., MD Henry Wagner Jr., MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Hong Zheng, MD, PhD Hong Zheng, MD, PhD Malignant Hematologist View Researcher Profile
Shin Mineishi, MD Shin Mineishi, MD View Researcher Profile
Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585

Patients and family members affected by lymphoma, leukemia or myeloma are invited to join a monthly support group. Support groups allow you to share your challenges, concerns and thoughts with others who have similar experiences.

Our support group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Meet at 5:30 p.m. in the Family Lounge on the seventh floor of the hospital in the north lobby. Patients and caregivers are welcome.

For additional information please contact Mitzi Lowe, RN, at 717-531-4669.

We don’t know how to prevent multiple myeloma. In most cases, this cancer is not hereditary. It is unclear whether environmental factors contribute to this cancer.

Screening can be done with a blood test.

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that starts in the plasma cells in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue found inside most bones. It helps make blood cells.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of multiple myeloma are:

  • Fatigue 
  • Frequent infections
  • Bone pain, especially in the ribs, spine and hips
  • Bleeding 
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs
  • Bone fractures without trauma
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Anemia

Diagnosis

Test used to diagnose the disease include: 

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Imaging tests of bones
  • Bone marrow biopsy