Bone Pain, Fatigue, and Weakness | Understanding the Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that happens in blood cells called monoclonal plasma cells. This cancer is characterized by the excessive production of abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow, which results in the accumulation of abnormal cells in the blood, the bone marrow, or both. Multiple myeloma can affect the bones, the kidneys, the liver, the spleen, and the nerves. It usually takes years to develop into multiple myeloma, and the cancer is almost always fatal. The most common cause of death is infection and complications from treatment.

This article describes the most important symptoms of multiple myeloma and how it affects patients. The most important symptoms include the following:

1) Bone Pain

In patients with multiple myeloma, the bone marrow is destroyed, and the bones become fragile. This can be felt as painful bones, even if there aren’t any fractures on the X-rays. Bone pain happens in advanced disease, and the symptom starts before pathologic fractures ensue.

In most cases, the pain is caused by osteolytic lesions or metastatic disease. Bone pain can also be associated with hypercalcemia because osteoclasts have increased bone resorption, which weakens the bones and causes microscopic injuries. The pain may be constant or intermittent, but it is usually described as dull and difficult to pinpoint.