Cancer of the bone marrow manifests itself through a malignant tumor that develops inside the bone. Bone marrow can be affected by different types of cancers. Among them, there is myeloma - or Kahler's disease - which affects in most cases the elderly between 50 and 70 years old, and more frequently men. It is characterized by the proliferation of cells called plasma cells. In addition, other tumors of bone marrow exist: these are called leukemias. Acute leukemia is characterized by an abnormally high production of immature white blood cells that invades the bone marrow and blood before migrating to other organs. Bone marrow becomes less functional, with decreased production of red blood cells and consequently anemia, decreased platelet count, a risk of thrombocytopenia, and decreased white blood cells with neutropenia and lower defense capacity in the face of infection. Leukemia can also develop in cells having finished their maturation, as is in the context of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, where the invasion is by mature white blood cells.
In the case of Kahler's disease, or multiple myeloma, the symptoms are varied and can affect many organs. This may be manifested in the form of bone pain with spontaneous bone fractures with a pale, repeated infections, severe fatigue, and weight loss.
Regarding leukemia, common symptoms, whether acute or chronic, are mainly due to complications of anemia (fatigue, pallor), of thrombocytopenia (bleeding) and neutropenia (susceptibility to infections). Other symptoms are specific to other forms.
To make the diagnosis of these different bone marrow cancers, blood tests will be collected from the bone marrow so that a professional may study its cellular content.
Kahler's disease cannot be cured by medication. However, some drugs improve the quality of life of patients and prevent the occurrence of complications, such as bisphosphonates. Treatment is most often through chemotherapy associated with the realization of a transplant. Radiation therapy is sometimes used to combat bone pain.
Regarding leukemia, chemotherapy (with specific molecules) and sometimes a bone marrow transplant are considered.
Original article published by
. Translated by Jeff