Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a type of blood cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells. Multiple myeloma is a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Normal plasma cells are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system.
When plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, they can produce a tumor called a plasmacytoma. These tumors generally develop in a bone, but they are also rarely found in other tissues. If someone has only a single plasma cell tumor, the disease is called an isolated (or solitary) plasmacytoma. If someone has more than one plasmacytoma, they have multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer, characterized by a recurring pattern of remission and relapse. It is a rare and very aggressive disease that accounts for approximately one percent of all cancers. In the U.S., there are nearly 90,000 people living with, or in remission from, multiple myeloma. Approximately, 26,850 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma each year and 11,240 patient deaths are reported on an annual basis.<< Back to Glossary Index