Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that begins in plasma cells (white blood cells that produce antibodies). It is also called Kahler disease, myelomatosis, and plasma cell myeloma.

In multiple myeloma, abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in many bones of the body. These tumors may keep the bone marrow from making enough healthy blood cells. Normally, the bone marrow makes stem cells (immature cells) that become three types of mature blood cells:

  • Red blood cells that carry oxygen and other substances to all tissues of the body.
  • White blood cells that fight infection and disease.
  • Platelets that form blood clots to help prevent bleeding.

As the number of myeloma cells increases, fewer red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are made. The myeloma cells also damage and weaken the bone.

Sometimes multiple myeloma does not cause any symptoms and is found when a blood or urine test is done for another condition. The following symptoms may be caused by multiple myeloma or other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following problems:

  • Bone pain, especially in the back or ribs.
  • Bones that break easily.
  • Fever for no known reason or frequent infections.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Weakness of the arms or legs.
  • Feeling very tired.

A tumor can damage the bone and cause hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood). This can affect many organs in the body, including the kidneys, nerves, heart, muscles, and digestive tract, and cause serious health problems.

Learn more about multiple myeloma symptoms, diagnosis, stages, and treatment from our Multiple Myeloma Program.

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Education and Support

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, concerns about treatments and managing side effects, hospital stays, and medical bills are common. You may also worry about caring for your family, employment, or how to continue normal daily activities.

There are several places you can go for support:

  • Your health care team can answer your questions and talk to you about your concerns. They can help you with any side effects and keep you informed of all your treatments, test results, and future doctor visits.
  • The G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center has hundreds of free brochures and more than 3,000 books, DVDs, and CDs available for checkout. You can browse the library, perform Internet research, or talk with a cancer information specialist.
  • Our Patient and Family Support Services offer emotional support and resources for coping with cancer and its impact on daily life to HCI patients and their families.
  • The Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness-Survivorship Center offers many programs to increase the quality of life and well-being of HCI patients and their families.

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Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query (PDQ®) Cancer Information Summaries
This information last updated on HCI website January 2014

*If you are interested in a trial that is currently marked *Not Open, please contact the Patient Education team at 1-888-424-2100 or patient.education@hci.utah.edu for other trial options. Enrollment is updated daily.

Forte Research Systems in partnership with Huntsman Cancer Institute

Djordje Atanackovic, M.D.

Specialties: Amyloidosis, Cancer Immunotherapy, Hematology/BMT, Myeloma, Plasma Cell Leukemia, Plasmacytoma, Tumor Immunology

Michael W. Boyer, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-2626
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 662-4700

Specialties: Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Hematology/BMT, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, Stem Cell Transplant

Michael W. Deininger, M.D., Ph.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-6906
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 587-4630

Specialties: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, Hematology/BMT, Leukemia, Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Martha J. Glenn, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-6906
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-0100

Specialties: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Hematology/BMT, Hodgkin Lymphoma, Leukemia, Lymphomas, Lymphoproliferative Diseases, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Oncology

Ahmad Halwani, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-2626

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Medical Oncology

Teresa Herlevi, PA-C

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-0303

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Physician Assistant

Gerhard Carl Hildebrandt, M.D., FACP

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-6906

Specialties: Amyloidosis, Aplastic Anemia, Hematology/BMT, Immunotherapy, Leukemia, Lymphomas, Multiple Myeloma, Myeloma

Tibor Kovacsovics, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-2626
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-2626

Specialties: Hematology/BMT

Brenda S. Mueggenborg, APRN

Locations
University Hospital (801) 585-3229

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Nurse Practitioner

Andy Nguyen, M.D.

Specialties: Hematology/BMT

J. Dane Osborn, M.D.

Specialties: Hematology/BMT

Charles J. Parker, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-3229
Veterans Administration Medical Center (801) 584-1272

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Hemochromatosis, Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria, Porphyria

Josef T. Prchal, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-6906
Veterans Administration Medical Center (801) 582-1565

Specialties: Anemia, Hematology/BMT, Myeloproliferative Disorders, Oncology, Thrombocythemia

Michael Allen Pulsipher, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-0100
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 662-4830
Primary Children's Hospital (801) 662-4700

Specialties: Benign Hematology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Brain Tumors, Hematology/BMT, Leukemia, Lymphomas, Neuroblastoma, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology

George M. Rodgers, III, M.D., Ph.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-2626

Specialties: Benign Hematology, Coagulation, Hematology/BMT, Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia

Jaime Shahan, PA-C

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-2626

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Physician Assistant

Paul J. Shami, M.D.

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-0100

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Leukemia, Myelodysplasia, Oncology

Mary Steinbach, M.S.N., APRN

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 587-4474

Specialties: Family Nurse Practitioner, Hematology/BMT

John Sweetenham, M.D., FACP

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-6906

Specialties: Hematology/BMT, Lymphomas

Renee A. Vadeboncoeur, M.S.N., APRN

Locations
Huntsman Cancer Hospital (801) 585-0100

Specialties: Family Nurse Practitioner, Hematology/BMT

HCI Resources

Make An Appointment

mindi yostBlood and Marrow Transplant Program
Care coordinator: Mindi Yost
Phone: 801-587-4652
E-mail: Mindi.Yost@hci.utah.edu

Did You Know?

  • Multiple myeloma can also be referred to as plasma cell myeloma.
  • An estimated 22,350 new cases of multiple myeloma will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
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