Multiple myeloma often does not have early symptoms. This can make it difficult to diagnose in the beginning stages. Symptoms of multiple myeloma may include:
- Fractures: Myeloma cells trigger the destruction of the surrounding bone. The weakened area of bone is more likely to break. This is called a pathological fracture.
- Bone pain, especially in the middle and/or lower back, rib cage or hips. The pain can be mild or severe depending on the extent of the multiple myeloma, the speed with which it has developed, and whether fracture or nerve compression has occurred.
- Fatigue and/or shortness of breath: Myeloma can cause anemia, which can lead to feeling short of breath with exertion or tiredness more than usual.
- Confusion: Multiple myeloma can lead to high calcium levels in the blood and/or kidney failure. This can lead to confusion. Confusion can also be related to hyperviscocity (overly thick) blood.
- Numbness or weakness: Multiple myeloma is sometimes associated with nerve compressions, which can lead to numbness in the limbs. Hyperviscocity can also lead to weakness or numbness of the face, arms, or legs
- Leg swelling: Multiple myeloma damages the kidneys, preventing them from working effectively. This means your body can't get rid of extra salts and fluids, which can produce swelling
- Appetite changes: High calcium levels in the blood and/or kidney failure can also cause a decrease in appetite, weight loss and nausea.
- Frequent infection: Because myeloma cells crowd out normal white blood cells, which fight infection, there is a risk of infection. Common myeloma infections include pneumonia, bladder or kidney infections, sinusitis and skin infections.
- Excessive thirst due to high blood calcium levels and kidney damage.
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials
offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.