ISM / JEAN-DENIS LAREDO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ISM / JEAN-DENIS LAREDO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured X-ray of the arm of a patient with multiple myeloma, also known as Kahler's disease. The humerus (upper bone) and ulna (darker bone at bottom of image) are both affected, showing multiple bone lesions. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell. In this condition, large numbers of abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells. Bone lesions may develop as seen here, causing the bones to weaken and become vulnerable to fractures. Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels) and kidney problems may develop. Multiple myeloma is not curable, but can be treated with steroids, chemotherapy and stem cell transplants.
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