Myeloma is a type of cancer that arises from cells called plasma cells. Bone marrow is the spongy material found inside the large bones of our body. The bone marrow produces a type of white blood cells and many other types of blood cells. A part of your immune system is formed by plasma cells.
Normal plasma cells produce antibodies which is also called immunoglobulin which helps to fight infection and these plasma cells become abnormal in myeloma, multiply uncontrollably and release only one type of antibody which is known as paraprotein which has no useful function. It is often through the measurement of this paraprotein that myeloma is diagnosed and treated.
Unlike other cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or a tumour. Most of the medical problems related to myeloma are caused by the formation of the abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and by the presence of the paraprotein in the urine or in the blood.
Myeloma affects multiple parts in the body where bone marrow is active i.e. within the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, the rib cage, long bones of the arms and legs and the areas around the shoulders and hips.