EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An illustration of multiple myeloma, a type of white blood cell cancer which affects plasma cells. Plasma cells mature from B lymphocytes in the bone marrow and produce antibodies used to fight infections. However, various gene mutations can alter this process, causing a proliferation of plasma cells and overproduction of antibodies. Malignant plasma cells in bone marrow can interfere with the production of normal blood cells and lead to bone lesions, osteoporosis, pathological bone fractures, and hypercalcemia. Bone pain is the most common symptom, usually involving the spine and ribs, which worsens with activity.
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