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Multiple Myeloma Prevention and Screening

Multiple Myeloma Screening

Cancer screening exams are important medical tests done when you’re at risk but don’t have symptoms. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for successful treatment are best.

Unfortunately, no standardized screening tests have been shown to improve multiple myeloma outcomes. However, here at MD Anderson, we’re working to develop tests to detect multiple myeloma earlier.

Multiple Myeloma Risk Factors

The exact cause of multiple myeloma is not known and no avoidable risk factors have been found. However, certain things appear to make you more likely to develop multiple myeloma.

  • Age: Over 65
  • Gender: Men are slightly more likely to develop multiple myeloma
  • Race: African Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to develop multiple myeloma
  • Radiation exposure
  • Family history: If a parent, brother or sister has the disease, your risk is four times higher. However, this is rare.
  • Working in oil-related industry: While some studies suggest this, it has not been proven.
  • Obesity
  • Other plasma cell diseases: If you have had one of the following you are at higher risk:
    • A precancerous condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
    • A single tumor of plasma cells (solitary plasmacytoma)

Not everyone with risk factors gets multiple myeloma. However, if you have risk factors, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your doctor.

Multiple Myeloma Prevention

Research shows that many cancers can be prevented. Visit the Prevention section of our website to find out steps you can take to avoid cancer.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Personalized multiple myeloma treatments, including vaccine and cytokine therapies, monoclonal antibodies and liposomal drug delivery
  • Genetic testing to pinpoint myeloma, increase likelihood of successful treatment
  • Advanced myeloma treatments with least impact on your body
  • One of the largest teams of experts focused on myeloma
  • Nationally recognized research program offers clinical trials of new therapies

Multiple Myeloma Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Multiple myeloma is treated in our:

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