How Multiple Myeloma Is Diagnosed

How Multiple Myeloma Is Diagnosed

Multiple myeloma is not always easy to diagnose. There is no one test that can be performed. Instead, doctors consider many factors, including physical symptoms and the results from a variety of tests.

Signs of multiple myeloma

CRAB is an acronym used to describe the most common signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma. It stands for Calcium, Renal, Anemia, and Bone. Multiple myeloma may also be accompanied by infections caused by a weakened immune system.

Sometimes multiple
myeloma can cause

Calcium

Too much calcium in your blood

It might make you feel

Very tired - Confused
Nauseated, you may even vomit
You may lose your appetite
You may urinate more often

Renal

Kidney problems, sometimes called renal problems
Very tired - Confused
Nauseated, you may even vomit
You may lose your appetite
You may urinate more often
You may have high blood pressure

Anemia

Too few oxygen-carrying cells in your blood
Very tired - Dizzy
You may have headaches
Out of breath
You might feel cold

Bone

Bone problems
Bone pain, which may be a sign of bone fractures

If symptoms suggest that a person might have multiple myeloma, tests may be done to help confirm a diagnosis.

Blood tests

Doctors can learn a lot about what’s going on in the body by testing the blood. Even after diagnosis, blood is tested regularly to see exactly how multiple myeloma is affecting the body and how it’s responding to treatment.
You can learn more about common blood tests here >

Sometimes, people with multiple myeloma have no symptoms at all. In these cases, multiple myeloma may be discovered early during routine blood tests.

Urine tests

Doctors may also test urine samples to help confirm a diagnosis. Multiple myeloma can cause too much protein to build up in the body. It may also stop kidneys from working properly. A sample of urine can help doctors understand how much protein is in the body. This can help track the disease and how well the body is responding to treatment.

Examination of your bone marrow

Doctors may remove a sample of bone marrow for testing. The sample is collected with a long needle inserted into a bone. This is called a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. The sample is then brought to the lab where it is examined for myeloma cells.

Imaging tests

An imaging test is a way to let doctors see what’s going on inside the body. Imaging tests may be recommended to help find bone problems common with multiple myeloma. Tests may include an X-ray, MRI, CT, or positron emission tomography (PET).

Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in developing a care plan and receiving appropriate care.

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