Can Multiple Myeloma Turn Into Leukemia?
Blood cancers as the name suggests affects the blood cells. There will be an altered production of blood cells and malfunctioning. Most of these cancerous cells develop and grow from bone marrow. Hence, bone marrow replacement or stem cell transplantation is considered as a treatment option. Blood is composed of various types of cells such as white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Can Multiple Myeloma Turn Into Leukemia?
The three types of blood cancers are multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma. Multiple myeloma is the cancer of plasma cells. These cells are responsible to fight infections and diseases. The cancerous multiplication of cells gets accumulated in the bone marrow which damages and weakens the bone resulting in bone pain. People suffering from multiple myeloma have a weak immune system and are at increased risk of infections. Multiple myelomas can be treated by radiation therapy, chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation. Leukemia mostly affects white blood cells. The irregular multiplication of cells starts from bone marrow which then spreads to the blood. The cancerous cells spread and grow in number replacing the healthy blood cells. Leukemia’s are of two types acute and chronic. The acute form of the disease spreads fast and requires immediate treatment. Lymphomas are cancers of lymphatic system wherein lymphocytes grow in number and get deposited in lymph nodes, the spleen, and other lymph tissues. Lymphomas are of various types, the most common form of lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Chemotherapy and the removal of affected lymph nodes are considered as safe treatment options for lymphomas. (1)
These blood cancers can be very well differentiated depending upon the cells affected. Multiple myeloma cells damage the bone marrow, develop tumors and or destroy the bone. The symptoms of multiple myeloma include bone pain, bone fractures, fatigue, anemia, frequent infections, etc. The leukemias are classified into 4 major types of Acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The symptoms of leukemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, nose bleeds, gum bleeds, fever, night sweats, etc. (2)
Cancer patients suffer from a number of health problems and recurrence being a major threat. It is not necessary that cancer survivals will suffer from same type of cancer again; they may also develop second cancer. Second cancer refers to the development of unrelated cancer in cancer survivors. After complete treatment also the chances of recurrence and second cancer cannot be ruled out. Certain cancer and their treatment put the individuals at risk of developing secondary cancers. The survivors of multiple myeloma are likely to develop second cancer such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). (3)
People suffering from multiple myeloma should undergo regular checkups as this form of blood cancer is difficult to treat. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy cause cancer to get suppressed for a time only to come back in the worst form. Keep your doctor informed about the worsening of symptoms or developing new symptoms. This can be an indication of worsening of existing cancer or development of second cancer. Multiple myeloma survivors should take good care of health and should avoid trigger factors such as tobacco products and tobacco smoke. A healthy active lifestyle with a balanced diet can help in controlling weight. Limit consumption of alcohol.
Multiple myeloma and leukemia are both form of blood cancers which affects different blood cells. Multiple myelomas are cancer of plasma cells whereas leukemia mostly affects white blood cells. People suffering from cancers are most likely to develop second cancers. In multiple myeloma, the most likely second cancers are acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Multiple myelomas as such do not transform into leukemia, but secondary cancers can be leukemias.
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