As with most other cancers, early detection is the main key to the successful treatment of multiple myeloma. However, because there are currently no recommended screening tests, it’s important to pay attention to possible signs and symptoms associated with the disease.
Signs and symptoms associated with multiple myeloma can include:
Keep in mind, however, that these symptoms can be attributed to something other than multiple myeloma. Still, it’s a good idea to have them checked by a doctor, especially if they don’t go away or get worse.
Doctors sometimes find multiple myeloma after a routine blood test. More often, doctors suspect multiple myeloma after an X-ray for a broken bone. Usually, though, patients go to the doctor because they are having other symptoms.
If you have any of the above symptoms that suggest multiple myeloma, your doctor will try to find out what’s causing the problem. Your doctor will first ask about your personal and family medical history. He or she will also perform a physical examination to check for signs of the disease or anything else that seems unusual. The doctor may also suggest other tests to make a diagnosis.
Tests that may be used to diagnose multiple myeloma can include:
Typically an oncologist will run several of these tests after your initial diagnosis. A medical oncologist will usually be the lead physician for the care of multiple myeloma patients. They will take the time to go over the results with you and discuss the specific subtype of myeloma as well as the stage. This information impacts the types and timing of cancer treatments.