Multiple Myeloma - Stages and Types of Multiple Myeloma

What Is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma, or multiple myeloma cancer, is a rare and complex form of blood cancer that originates in plasma cells, a form of immune cell that is responsible for the production of antibodies. These cancerous plasma cells undergo uncontrolled growth, leading to the overproduction of dysfunctional antibodies, which can crowd out healthy blood cells, hamper immune function, and gradually damage various organs in the body.

Is Multiple Myeloma a Fatal Disease?

It is true that multiple myeloma is a serious and life-altering condition. However, in recent times, we have seen significant advancements in the field of multiple myeloma management, and patients are going back to leading fulfilling lives after their treatment.

The prognosis of multiple myeloma cancer depends on a myriad of factors, including the type of myeloma, its stage, the patient’s age, and the overall health status of the patient. Early-stage multiple myeloma cases are found to have a better prognosis than advanced-stage cases.

How Common is Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is considered a relatively rare cancer compared to others, but its incidence varies by region and population. It has been observed that certain ethnicities and older individuals are at a higher risk. In India, multiple myeloma cancer is one of the less common types of cancer.

Understanding the risk factors of multiple myeloma cancer and seeking appropriate medical guidance to reduce its risk is the right way forward.

Different Types of Multiple Myeloma

There are different types of multiple myeloma based on their unique characteristics, such as the type of antibody chain they produce, their aggressiveness, growth rate, the line of treatment they demand, etc. The following are the important types of multiple myeloma:

Multiple Myeloma Cancer Stages

Multiple myeloma is staged based on the extent of the disease. However, the parameters considered for myeloma staging are slightly different:

The myeloma protein levels in the blood

The hemoglobin levels in the blood

The calcium levels in the blood

The presence of high-risk cytogenetic factors

The presence of bone lesions

Based on these factors, the following are the different stages of multiple myeloma:

When to See an Oncologist?

If you experience symptoms like persistent bone pain, unexplained fatigue, frequent infections, or any signs of multiple myeloma, it's crucial to see an oncologist promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve outcomes.


Multiple myeloma, which is sometimes referred to as myeloma cancer of the blood, is a form of blood cancer that begins in the plasma cells. This is a rare condition; however, it can be managed effectively if it is caught in the early stages. There are various types of multiple myeloma based on certain unique characteristics they exhibit. Becoming aware of the crucial aspects of myeloma can help patients make informed decisions and put themselves a step ahead of this condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

High-risk multiple myeloma typically refers to cases with certain aggressive features, such as specific genetic abnormalities or extensive disease involvement. These cases may have a less favorable prognosis and may require more intensive treatment strategies.

The staging of multiple myeloma is based on several factors, including the extent of disease involvement, levels of abnormal proteins, and the presence of symptoms. The widely used staging system is the International Staging System (ISS), which categorizes myeloma into stages I, II, and III based on these factors.

Stage 3 multiple myeloma indicates an advanced stage of the disease with a higher tumor burden and potentially more severe symptoms. However, the prognosis varies among individuals, and advancements in treatment have improved outcomes for many stage 3 myeloma patients.

The primary difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2 multiple myeloma is the extent of disease involvement. Stage 1 typically indicates early disease with fewer myeloma cells and less organ damage, while Stage 2 represents a more advanced stage with moderate disease involvement.

Yes, multiple myeloma is treatable, and there have been significant advancements in therapies for this condition. Treatment options include chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and supportive care. The choice of treatment depends on factors like the patient's overall health and the stage and subtype of myeloma.

Obesity is considered a risk factor for multiple myeloma, as it has been associated with an increased likelihood of developing the disease. However, cancer development is multifactorial, and obesity is just one of several potential risk factors.

Hyperdiploid multiple myeloma refers to a specific type of myeloma wherein the cancerous plasma cells have more than 46 chromosomes, which is the normal number of chromosomes in healthy cells. In other words, this condition causes the cancerous plasma cells to have extra copies of certain chromosomes. Chromosome numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15, 19, and 21 are commonly affected.

Hyperdiploid multiple myeloma is reported to have a better prognosis, and the suitable treatment for it is decided upon considering factors like its type, stage, and the patient’s overall health condition.