Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow, the soft, spongy center of most bones. It occurs when a type of bone marrow cells that help fight infection, called plasma cells, begin behaving in a way that leads to multiple tumors within the bone marrow space. As the disease progresses within the marrow, the overgrowth of cancer cells tends to crowd out normal cells, preventing the production of normal levels of red and white blood cells, as well as a type of blood cells called platelets. Resulting symptoms can include recurrent infections, anemia, bruising, and bleeding. The affected bone marrow space weakens with time, resulting in destruction of the bones of the spine, pelvic bones, ribs, and areas of the shoulders and hips. Multiple myeloma is unique compared to other blood diseases in that it often causes a range of symptoms such as destructive bone lesions, kidney failure, and high calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia), which can lead to weakness, confusion, stupor, and coma. The cause is not known, but risk for the disease increases with age, men are more likely to develop it than women, and African-Americans are more than twice as likely to develop it as Americans of European descent.
Caring for patients with multiple myeloma involves specialized management of the multiple organ systems affected by the disease. Supported by the resources within the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, UAB Medicine clinicians collaborate with local physicians, offering patients updated treatment recommendations and access to advanced research. Newly diagnosed and established patients alike have access to a team of physicians with expertise in the fields of hematology/oncology, bone marrow transplantation, nephrology, cardiology, interventional radiology, radiation/oncology, and orthopaedics. Our consultations include a streamlined, comprehensive assessment and therapeutic recommendations from the time of initial diagnosis throughout the treatment course. UAB Medicine also is engaged in ongoing research to identify causes of the disease and learn more about how it develops.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of Multiple Myeloma. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
- Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic
The Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic takes an interdisciplinary approach to caring for patients with serious illnesses, whether they are in active treatment or have completed treatment. Our goal is to help patients fulfill their maximum physical, emotional, spiritual, vocational, and social potential.
The health professionals at the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic help patients manage the side effects associated with cancer. Referrals to the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic can be made by any treating physician or nurse or by patient self-referral. A broad range of insurance is accepted.
Patient appointment scheduling is flexible and based on patient needs and other concurrent treatments. Clinic sessions are held Wednesday and Friday mornings with palliative care physicians and fellows. A physician assistant is available Monday through Friday.
Physicians and physician assistants have special expertise in complex symptom management including depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain syndromes, and others.
Nurses support patients by facilitating the clinic sessions as well as managing communication with patients. They are the front line of patient care.
Physical therapists develop individualized programs for each patient to help with coordination, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, or range of motion. Counselors are experienced in structuring counseling sessions to meet the specific needs of each person. Individual, couple, and family sessions are available.
Nutritionists have expertise in nutrition for patients with serious illnesses.
Massage therapists are trained in all types of massage, including oncology massage, which is a specialized approach that supports the body's health before, during, and after treatment for cancer.
Our clinic is an active teaching environment with fellows, residents, and students in both medicine and nursing participating in patient care.
The UAB Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic is located on the 3rd floor of The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital.
Patients can request an appointment online or by calling UAB Healthfinder at 205.934.9999 or 800.822.8816.