What Does Myeloma Mean?
Myeloma is a form of cancer that affects the body's plasma cells. Plasma cells are a central component of the body's immune system. A mature form of white blood cell, plasma cells produce antibodies needed help the body fight off infections.
During myeloma, plasma cells develop and multiply abnormally. The cells then develop into tumors, often lodged within the bone marrow. These clusters of abnormal plasma cells can also adhere to the surface of the bones throughout the body. When tumors are found in more than one site, the condition is referred to as multiple myeloma.
Myeloma weakens the body's bones, impairs the production of various types of cells in the bone marrow, and damages the body's immune system.
Myleoma is sometimes called plasmacytoma. This term refers to a plasma-related toma, or tumor. Because plasmacytomas are a common symptom of myeloma, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.