Symptoms of myeloma
Myeloma can cause a range of symptoms because of its effect on the bones, bone marrow, blood, urine and kidneys.
The most common symptoms of myeloma include:
- bone pain or a broken bone that has not been caused by injury
- frequent infections or an infection that is hard to shake off
- tiredness, shortness of breath or a racing heart, caused by a low level of red blood cells (anaemia)
- kidney problems, caused by the excess amounts of paraprotein produced by the myeloma cells. The symptoms of kidney problems include frothy urine, passing too much or too little urine, nausea, weight loss or fluid retention
- feeling sick, drowsy or confused, because of too much calcium in the blood (hypercalcaemia)
- abnormal blood counts, because myeloma cells may stop the bone marrow from making enough normal blood cells.
Other conditions can also cause these symptoms, so not everyone with these changes will have myeloma. However, if you are concerned or the symptoms are ongoing, see your general practitioner (GP) for a check-up.
Prof John Gibson, Haematologist, Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Stephanie Anderson, Registrar, Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, NSW; Tanya Carney, Consumer; Jacqui Keogh, NSW State Manager/Senior Myeloma Nurse NSW, Myeloma Australia; Dr Silvia Ling, Haematologist, Liverpool Hospital, NSW; Rachel McCann, Myeloma Support Nurse NSW, Myeloma Australia; John McMath, Consumer; Karen Robinson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW.
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