Multiple Myeloma and its Risk Factors

Multiple myeloma refers to the cancerous development in white blood cells. The role of plasma cells is to help fight infections by making antibodies. These antibodies primarily recognize and attack germs. In multiple myeloma, however, cancer cells accumulate in the bone marrow. As a result, the count of healthy cells significantly reduces. When the plasma cells become cancerous and grow out of control, it is referred to as multiple myeloma.

Certain risk factors increase the chance of developing the symptoms of cancer. Although the risk factors are often responsible for the development of cancer, they do not cause cancer. This has been proved in various research. Not everyone with risk factors is prone to the condition. In rare cases, the symptoms have been found among people who do not have such risk factors, too.

However, learning of the risk factors for multiple myeloma is a safe bet, as it keeps one informed. Moreover, it helps them make healthier lifestyle changes.

The actual cause of multiple myeloma is unknown. As a result, there are no concrete methods to completely prevent multiple myeloma. Similarly, medical science has not defined specific risk factors for multiple myeloma. Moreover, changes in plasma cells are not inherited but acquired, so if one of your family members has developed the condition, it does not mean you are prone to it.

Risk factors for multiple myeloma include the following:

1. Age
It has been observed that the symptoms of multiple myeloma usually develop among people over the age of 60. According to reports, the diagnosis age is 70. Also, only 2 percent of the cases occur below the age of 40, making age one of the vital risk factors for multiple myeloma.

2. Race
African-Americans develop the symptoms of multiple myeloma more than Caucasians. Moreover, according to various reports, multiple myeloma is one of the common diseases among the people living in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region. However, the reason is unclear.

3. Exposure to chemicals or radiation
People who have been exposed to radiation or certain chemicals such as benzene and pesticides are likely to have this condition. Moreover, those exposed to various chemicals used in the manufacturing of rubber are also at a high risk of developing the symptoms of multiple myeloma. Besides, people like carpenters, furniture makers, and papermakers are at a high risk.

4. Personal history
If you have a history of solitary plasmacytoma of bone, then you are at greater risk of developing the symptoms of multiple myeloma.

5. Gender
It has been also found that gender is one of the risk factors for multiple myeloma, as this condition is more common among men than women.