Home Lifestyle Multiple myeloma, a cancer that mostly affects more men than women

Multiple myeloma, a cancer that mostly affects more men than women

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Since the proliferation of uncontrolled cancer cells causes multiple myeloma, it is the only type of cancer referred to as multiple.

Ageing ethnicity and gender are also contributing factors. It’s advised to have a check up just to detect any abnormal signals as early as possible. Picture by Angiola Harry/unsplash

THE director of medical affairs at Janssen South Africa, Moustafa Kamel, reaffirms how technology has significantly improved the way that diseases like cancer are treated.

If the disease is detected early enough, it may be managed as a chronic illness rather than a potentially fatal situation, he told IOL lifestyle.

Since the proliferation of uncontrolled cancer cells causes multiple myeloma, it is the only type of cancer referred to as multiple.

When the cancerous cells invade the bone marrow, they leave no room and crowd out healthy cells responsible for producing red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets as their primary function.

Multiple myeloma is caused by an excess of plasma cells in the bone marrow disrupting the production of red, and white blood cells as well as platelets, resulting in patients being anemic, infections, and no clotting agents in the blood, explains Kamel.

The director of medical affairs at Janssen South Africa, Moustafa Kamel. Picture supplied

Patients had two options up until recently: chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation. Targeted therapy, recently made available for patients with multiple myeloma, is far safer and relies on a different treatment regime.

Targeted therapy focuses on the proteins that regulate the development, division, and spread of cancer cells.

Targeted therapy only treats the area that needs it, puts cancer in remission, and, should a relapse occur, introduces a new treatment plan.

Kamel further alludes that this emerging form of treatment allows for long-term management of the problem rather than more extensive therapies like chemotherapy.

People diagnosed with multiple myeloma are typically between the ages of 66 and 70. Medical professionals have identified certain mutations of multiple myeloma as genetic risk factors. “It could be classified as a rare disease because it relatively affects one percent of the South African population. Men are slightly more likely than women to develop multiple myeloma,” he said.

“Additionally, ageing, ethnicity and gender are also contributing factors. Every six months it’s advised to have a check-up, just to detect any abnormal signals as early as possible”

While Multiple Myeloma is less common than leukaemia and lymphoma, advances in cancer management represent a significant advancement in science and, more importantly, patient care. As recently as 2020, approximately 176 404 people worldwide were diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.

Several studies have shown a link between alcohol use and an increased risk of cancer, including breast, colon, and liver cancer. Alcohol is a proven carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer), and drinking alcohol may increase your chance of developing a variety of cancers. Therefore, it may be beneficial to rethink your lifestyle choices to avoid the development of malignancies.

“Targeted Therapy has the potential to save a lot of lives,” Kamel explained. When diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate for patients with Multiple Myeloma is estimated to be around 77%.

“There is a significant amount of research underway to understand cancer better and, concomitant to that, our DNA and how genetic mutations that cause the condition originate. As we hone in on the various aspects of cancer and isolate cause and effect, treatment can become even more targeted and effective. That is what we hope for every day.”

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