How to Diagnose Multiple Myeloma: Your doctor may first detect signs of multiple myeloma before you even have symptoms through various tests conducted during a routine physical exam.The tests include imaging, blood and urine test, bone marrow biop
If you experience any of the symptoms like tiredness, pain in bones, unexpected weight loss, excessive urination, excessive thirst, numbness, tingling or weakness in your legs then your doctor may conduct various tests to detect the signs of Multiple Myeloma. The following tests will help to gain a thorough diagnosis of the stage and extent of multiple myeloma:
- Blood and Urine Test: In order to determine a baseline to monitor treatment throughout the illness, routine blood and urine tests are carried out. These blood and urine tests help register the response to treatment as well as any side effects that might occur. The possibility of a relapse can also be identified with routine urine and blood tests.
- Bone Marrow Biopsies: A bone marrow biopsy is done regularly to closely monitor the stage, type, nature and course of the disease. Even though a bone marrow biopsy is painful and tedious, still it should be done regularly, since it is the only method by which a pathologist can directly access the infected cells.
[Read: What is Multiple Myeloma?]
- Imaging: Various imaging techniques like X-rays, MRI, CT / CAT, and PET scans are used to study the cancer cells. While X-rays show a clear image of the extent of thinning of bones, the MRI provides a three dimensional image of the myeloma clumps in and around the bone structures. CAT and PET scans are advanced x-rays that show the structure of the entire body as three dimensional.
- Genetic Testing: Genetic testing is done on a bone marrow biopsy specimen to be able to determine how the myeloma will behave and what course it will follow as it progresses.
These laboratory tests will confirm whether you have multiple myeloma or another condition. If tests indicate you have multiple myeloma, the results will determine the extent of the cancer as stage 1, stage 2 or stage 3. Staging is complicated and is based on protein levels, calcium levels, kidney function, and the presence of cancer in the bone. People with stage 3 myeloma are more likely to have one or more signs of advanced disease, including greater numbers of myeloma cells and kidney failure.
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