Several blood tests are used to diagnose myeloma.
The main blood test is called serum protein electrophoresis. This measures the level of paraprotein in your blood. Another blood test called the serum free light chain assay may be used to check for a form of paraprotein known as free light chains.
These check for too few red blood cells (anaemia), too much calcium in the blood (hypercalcaemia), and how well your kidneys are working.
Once myeloma has been confirmed, further blood tests will help your doctor work out the stage of the disease. Changes in the level of paraprotein may indicate changes in the activity of the myeloma. If you are diagnosed with myeloma, your paraprotein and/or serum free light chain levels will be monitored to see how well treatment is working and to check that the myeloma is stable during periods when you are not having treatment.
Dr Jane Estell, Senior Staff Specialist, Haematology Department, Concord Cancer Centre, and Senior Clinical Lecturer, The University of Sydney; Brenda Clasquin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Jacqui Keogh, Senior Myeloma Support Nurse, Myeloma Australia; Dr Silvia Ling, Haematologist, Liverpool Hospital and Sydney Adventist Hospital; and John Miller, Consumer.
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