Multiple myeloma

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Spread of multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is usually widespread by the time it is diagnosed. It affects multiple (more than 1) bones or multiple areas of a bone.

The most common bones where multiple myeloma occurs include:

  • spine (vertebrae)
  • ribs
  • breastbone (sternum)
  • hips
  • shoulder blade (scapula)
  • skull
  • upper arm bone (humerus)
  • upper leg bone (femur)

Doctors measure substances in the blood or urine to see if the disease is progressing, or getting worse. This includes measuring levels of:

  • hemoglobin
  • calcium
  • monoclonal protein (M-protein)
  • creatinine
  • beta-2-microglobulin

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Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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