Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects the plasma cells of the bone marrow (the soft, inner layer of the bone). This rare and complex disease replaces healthy bone marrow with malignant plasma cells (myeloma cells). As the tumors grow, they invade the hard outer part of the bone. Lesions occur most commonly in the spine.
Most myeloma patients experience pain, especially in the lower back. More often than not, back pain and generalized weakness are what bring many undiagnosed myeloma patients to the doctor in the first place.
Myeloma is referred to as "multiple" because more than one area of the bone marrow is usually affected. Multiple myeloma also prevents the bone marrow from forming cells that are important to the immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to infection and disease.
Understanding Balloon Kyphoplasty and Myeloma-Induced Vertebral Compression Fractures
Developed by the International Myeloma Foundation and sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from Kyphon, this patient guide explains myeloma, VCF and treatment options. The booklet is available to patients via the IMF Web site and at seminars nationwide.
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