What Are the First Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma?

Early on in its development, multiple myeloma frequently shows no symptoms at all. The earliest symptoms to manifest are frequently nonspecific ones like weariness, weakness, and bone discomfort.

Multiple myeloma in its early stages frequently exhibits no symptoms. When multiple myeloma does present with early symptoms, they are frequently mild and disregarded. Early detection is key to avoiding treatment and diagnosis delays for multiple myeloma. It might occasionally have an impact on survival rates as well.

We'll talk about the early signs of multiple myeloma and when to seek medical attention in this article.

What symptoms occur in early-stage multiple myeloma?

Multiple myeloma promotes rapid and uneven cell development, just like other malignancies. The area required for the formation of healthy blood cells is decreased when myeloma cells proliferate. This phenomenon results in a decrease in the production and storage of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the bone marrow.

Despite how serious this may sound, early-stage myeloma frequently exhibits no outwardly noticeable symptoms.

Early multiple myeloma signs and symptoms can include the following:
  • bone discomfort in the back, hips, or other places
  • bones that break easily
  • anemia
  • reduced appetite
  • fatigue
  • brain fog or confusion
  • kidney disease or failure
  • frequent infections
  • severe constipation
  • legs experiencing numbness, edoema, or weakness
  • heightened urination and thirst

What are the early medical signs of multiple myeloma?

Regular checks may reveal noticeable changes in blood and urine due to myeloma. These alterations may manifest before symptoms do. 

They include:
  • decreased levels of red and white blood cells
  • decreased levels of normal antibodies
  • elevated myeloma protein (M-protein) concentrations, an aberrant protein made by an excessive amount of plasma cells
  • high blood calcium levels

What conditions can be mistaken for multiple myeloma?

Many common illnesses can be mistaken for the initial signs of myeloma, such as:
  • arthritis
  • Lyme disease
  • back, hip, or leg injuries
Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia and light-chain amyloidosis are two other blood malignancies and illnesses that might be mistaken for multiple myeloma.

Are there screening tests to identify multiple myeloma early?

Currently, there is no accepted screening procedure for multiple myeloma among the general public.

A doctor may periodically conduct blood and urine tests to screen for conditions such as monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) or solitary plasmacytoma, which increase the risk of multiple myeloma.

When to contact a doctor

It's simple to push away feelings of "not quite right." You may have nebulous symptoms that you discover you've had for a while.

You are the only one who truly knows your body. Consult a healthcare provider if you have back discomfort, constipation, weariness, or excessive thirst and urination. These symptoms might indicate an underlying medical condition even if they are minor.

Even while these symptoms frequently point to a different diagnosis, it's wise to be certain, particularly if you have any risk factors. Any ailment that is diagnosed early on can lead to faster treatment and a better prognosis for the affected individual.

How do doctors test for multiple myeloma?

A medical expert can run diagnostic tests, such as the following if they think you could have multiple myeloma:
  • electrophoresis blood test
  • serum-free light-chain blood test
  • urine test
  • complete blood count
  • blood chemistry test
  • quantitative immunoglobulin blood test
  • bone marrow biopsy
  • swollen lymph node biopsied with a needle
  • echocardiogram
imaging tests such as:
  • CT scan
  • bone X-ray
  • PET scan
  • MRI scan
Once a multiple myeloma diagnosis has been confirmed, a physician can suggest treatments to manage symptoms, lower the risk of complications, and decrease the disease's development.

Who’s at risk of multiple myeloma?

People over 65 are most commonly affected by multiple myeloma. It is somewhat more common in men and twice as common in Black people than in White people.

Obesity or being overweight raises your risk. High exposure to ionising radiation, like that seen in X-rays, can also raise your risk of developing multiple myeloma.


Where does myeloma pain start?

Affected bones with multiple myeloma are typically the hips, ribs, or back. Often, the pain is a dull, constant ache that can get worse when you move.

How would I know if I had myeloma?

Most typically, a standard blood or urine test is required for diagnosis or suspicion. Myeloma eventually results in a variety of issues, such as: chronic bone discomfort that typically affects the hips, ribs, or back. fatigue, weakness, and dyspnea—all brought on by anaemia.

Can stress cause myeloma?

When it comes to myeloma, stress can be a very harmful element. Myeloma is an immune system cancer, and stress seriously compromises the immune system. Furthermore, noradrenaline, the "flight" hormone as opposed to adrenaline, the "fight" hormone, is a stress hormone that can directly stimulate the proliferation of cancer cells.


Early-stage multiple myeloma usually presents with no symptoms. When symptoms appear, they could be misdiagnosed as other illnesses. Bone pain, extreme constipation, increased thirst, and excessive urination are some early signs of myeloma.

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