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Since 2009 the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) has dedicated the month of March to raising the awareness of Multiple Myeloma in the hope to raise funds for research into diagnosis, treatments, and ultimately a cure.

This year’s Myeloma Action Month is focusing on ‘Myeloma Warriors’, individuals who are living with the disease or those who are supporting loved ones living with myeloma. In addition, there is a focus on those working towards finding a cure for myeloma.

Help spread the word

Join Abingdon Health in creating as much awareness of this rare cancer as possible by doing one of the following actions:

  • Share a story about a Myeloma Warrior you know using the hashtag #myelomawarrior
  • Share our article on social media to help spread the word about Myeloma Action Month.

What is multiple myeloma?

Multiple Myeloma is a rare blood cancer and is the 2nd most common form of haematological malignancy.  Myeloma occurs when abnormal plasma cells multiply, producing and secreting paraproteins into the bloodstream.

Multiple Myeloma can present in many different ways, bone pain and fractures are characteristic and patients can develop renal failure, acute and chronic infections. Many will require stem cell transplantation and/or intensive chemotherapy.

In some situations diagnosis can be missed as symptoms can be mistaken for normal aches and pains or can be confused with a range of other conditions.

There are different types of myeloma:

  • IgG or IgA
  • Non-secretory
  • Oligosecretory
  • Free light chain (formerly known as Bench Jones Myeloma)

In 2012, the GLOBOCAN project estimated of the incidence of, mortality and prevalence of myeloma, in 184 countries worldwide.

Incidence Mortality 5 year prevalence
Men 62,469 43,091 124,985
Women 51,782 36,928 104,483

Diagnosis of free light chain myeloma

Free light chain myeloma is where the body produces incomplete antibodies that may not have a Y shaped heavy chain and only the light chain (either kappa or lambda).

Diagnosis is carried out quantifying free light chains (FLC), proteins made by antibodies, in serum or urine samples to see if there is an abnormally high levels of FLCs. Quantifying free light chains can be carried out using rapid lateral flow immunoassay technology or electrophoresis.