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Multiple Myeloma

  • Posted: 11/20/2008

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About This Booklet

This National Cancer Institute (NCI) booklet (NIH Publication No. 08-1575) is about multiple myeloma, a cancer that starts in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. It's also called plasma cell myeloma. In 2013, more than 22,000 Americans will be diagnosed with this disease.

This booklet is only about multiple myeloma. It is not about bone cancer. Although multiple myeloma affects the bones, it begins in plasma cells.

Bone cancer begins in bone cells. It's diagnosed and treated differently from multiple myeloma. The NCI's fact sheet Bone Cancer provides information about bone cancer.

Also, this booklet is not about plasmacytoma (a collection of abnormal plasma cells that forms a single tumor) and other types of plasma cell tumors. You can find information on our Web site at Or, the Cancer Information Service (1-800-4-CANCER) can send you information about those diseases.

This booklet tells about diagnosis, treatment options, and tests the doctor may give you during follow-up visits. It also tells about supportive care before, during, or after treatment. Learning about the medical care for multiple myeloma can help you take an active part in making choices about your care.

This booklet has lists of questions that you may want to ask your doctor. Many people find it helpful to take a list of questions to a doctor visit. To help remember what your doctor says, you can take notes or ask whether you may use a tape recorder. You may also want to have a family member or friend go with you when you talk with the doctor - to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.