Bone marrow cancer is defined as cancer of cells present in bone marrow. This type of cancer cells is also known as myeloma. It mainly affects the cells called as plasma cells. Cancer or myeloma leads to damage of cells and uncontrolled growth of the plasma cells present the bone marrow. This further leads to filling of bone marrow with cancerous plasma cells and thus bone marrow is not able to manufacture enough normal blood cells. Due to decrease count of normal blood cells, the patient exhibit clinical features like bleeding problems, anemia and infections. The other names of bone marrow cancer are:
- Multiple myeloma
Causes of Bone Marrow Cancer
It is still unknown what causes bone marrow cancer but there are many other factors which are possible risk for the development of this type of cancer. Factors like infections, environmental or chemical factors may play role in the process of damaging the cells and development of cancer. This is not any single cause that can be wholly attributed to the causation of cancer. According to researchers, hereditary do not play role in the development of myeloma.
Signs and symptoms of Bone Marrow Cancer
The patient starts exhibiting clinical symptoms at the time of diagnosis only. Back pain is one of the most common symptoms exhibited by bone marrow cancer patient. The pain is more severe than normal back pain in ordinary condition. The symptoms are mainly due to less count of blood cells and damage done to the organs. The damage to organs is done by the paraproteins and cancerous cells of bone marrow. The symptoms include:
- appetite loss
- weight lose
- urge to urination more frequently
- loss of energy
Damage to bone and associated problems
Bones are affected due to uncontrolled growth of plasma cells which act as growing carcinoma inside the bone. These tumor cells secrete chemicals which damage the plasma cells. When multiple areas are destroyed by these cancerous cells, then it is known as multiple myeloma. The symptoms due to bone damage include
- Pain in bones: this is one of the early symptoms experienced by the patient. The pain is severe. The sites which are most commonly affected are pelvis, lower back, and ribs. The pain also restricts movement.
- Fractures: even with mild injury or sometimes without any injury, the affected bones can easily get fractured or break.
- Nerves compression: due to fracture of bones especially surrounding the spinal cord including vertebrae leads to compressions of nerves which are coming out of spinal cord. This leads to symptoms like pain, numbness of legs or other areas of body, bowel dysfunction and weakness in leg muscles.
- Hypercalcaemia: due to breakage of bone, there is increased level of calcium in blood.
Due to increased level of calcium in the blood or due to increased level of para proteins (abnormal antibody), renal damage can occur.
This is one of the uncommon complications that occur due to myeloma. In this condition, there is accumulation of abnormal proteins in various parts of body.