Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer. While it affects more than 750,000 people per year, many don’t recognize the symptoms soon enough for treatment to be as effective as possible. The International Myeloma Foundation is asking everyone to tell one person this month about myeloma to help raise awareness and ultimately save lives.

How to Recognize the Symptoms

Doctors sometimes refer to the acronym CRAB to describe symptoms of myeloma. While these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, it’s important to take notice of them and then determine if you have more than one of the symptoms of myeloma. Be sure to tell your doctor about everything you’re experiencing. 

C—Calcium elevation. High levels of calcium in the blood, also known as hypercalcemia, can cause nausea and abdominal cramping, bone pain or even kidney stones.  

R—Renal insufficiency. Your kidneys need enough blood flowing through them to work correctly.  If your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly, you may urinate too often or be unable to create a flow of urine when you need to. You might also experience lower back pain and/or swelling in your feet and legs. 

A—Anemia. Anemia is a low red blood cell count caused by bone marrow not making the right amount of blood cells. Anemia may cause you to feel very weak or extremely tired.

B—Bone abnormalities. Bone abnormalities might appear as bone fractures, especially in the spine, without any severe impact to the body. 

Frequent infections are also common for those with myeloma because their blood isn’t creating the right quantity and type of blood cells to keep the body from infections.  

What to Do if you Recognize Myeloma Symptoms

If you are suffering from any combination of these symptoms please schedule an appointment with one of our physicians specializing in blood cancers. You will be evaluated and if diagnosed with myeloma, you will have access to the latest treatments available. 

Virginia Cancer Specialists is a member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). This is an early-stage drug development consortium dedicated to clinical research and accelerating drug development for myeloma. The practice was selected to be a part of this group because of the physicians’ experience in conducting clinical trials and the practice’s ability to reach a large number of patients in the region. This makes it possible for VCS patients to access more trials specifically targeting myeloma.