Deep bone pain (dull and persistent pain that is often exacerbated by movement) is one of the most common symptoms of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.
It’s not one of the cancers we hear most often, like breast and prostate cancer, but it affects a significant number of people in South Africa. Prior to the arrival of HIV, multiple myeloma was one of the most frequently seen malignancies in the blood, said Dr. Atularaka, a consultant in the Department of Hematology at Chris Hanibala Gwanat Hospital.
However, it often affects people over the age of 50 and presents with some fairly vague symptoms that are easy to attribute to age – fatigue and pain are not uncommon in an aged body. Therefore, according to Dr. Lucille Singh, a clinical hematologist in Johannesburg, the diagnosis can take a long time, sometimes even three years or more.
What is Multiple Myeloma?
It’s a cancer of the blood. It affects the bone marrow. Bone marrow is a spongy substance inside the hard sheath of bone that produces blood in the form of white and red blood cells. It can form lumps inside the bone, thus causing bone pain, reducing the number of red blood cells and causing malaise caused by anemia. The effects on white blood cells affect the immune system and are prone to infections.
These symptoms should be a danger signal for general practitioners (GPs), physiotherapists, and other healthcare professionals.
A very simple test can be done to raise or alleviate the suspicion that multiple myeloma is present. X-rays can pick up bone damage. Common causes of anemia (iron or vitamin B12 deficiency or heavy bleeding) can be easily ruled out. Malignant plasma cells generally secrete proteins that can be collected by simple blood tests or urine samples.
Subsequent symptoms are more dramatic – fractures of the bones, ribs and spine of the arms and legs. Renal failure – However, the signs of early warning are non-specific, and patients who complain of pain and arrive at a local clinic are sent out with painkillers, such as paracetamol, Dr. Laka said. increase.
Multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease, but both diagnostic tools and treatments have improved dramatically over the last two decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, people diagnosed with this blood cancer could be expected to live for a few years. Today, the potential lifespan is much longer, perhaps more than 10 years.
And better tools for fighting cancer and relieving symptoms mean that patients’ quality of life, their physical comfort and abilities can be much better. However, this is much more achievable if the cancer is detected as soon as possible.
“It’s important that medical professionals are aware of the importance of symptoms such as fatigue, bone pain, and a tendency to get infections,” says Dr. Shin.
See: Multiple myeloma: Asymptomatic cancer
Source link See: Multiple myeloma: Asymptomatic cancer