Myeloma screening is a series of tests that may include blood, urine and bone marrow tests and X-rays or scans of your bones to diagnose myeloma cancer.
Myeloma is a blood cancer. It arises from a type of white blood cell made in your bone marrow, called plasma cells. Your bone marrow is a spongy material located in the centre of your larger bones. It is where all blood cells are made.
Myeloma happens if your DNA is damaged when developing a plasma cell. This abnormal cell then multiplies and spreads within your bone marrow. Abnormal plasma cells release a large amount of an antibody known as paraprotein. Most myeloma problems are caused by a build-up of abnormal plasma cells in your bone marrow and the paraprotein in the body. Myeloma often affects several body areas such as your spine, skull, pelvis and ribs and so it is also referred to as multiple myeloma.
A myeloma screen is required if you are showing symptoms or abnormal blood or urine test results that could be due to myeloma. If your GP thinks you may have signs and symptoms of myeloma, they will usually refer you to a haematologist who specialises in the study of blood and blood-related disorders.
A multiple myeloma screen uses three main tests to investigate and diagnose myeloma.
If you have a diagnosis of myeloma, some of these tests will be repeated regularly to monitor your myeloma over time.
The time it takes to perform a myeloma screen varies from person to person. It depends on the test results of each part of the investigation, whether additional tests are required for further clarification and the agreed length of time to regularly monitor your paraprotein levels. Each part of the screen, for example, blood tests, X-rays and biopsy take less than 30 minutes each to perform.
You may get the results of some tests quickly, such as your full blood count. However, some test results such as genetics and biopsy tests might take several weeks. Many people feel anxious during this waiting time. The staff at our Ramsay hospitals are available to answer any questions you might have during this uncertain time. We endeavour to book myeloma tests as soon as possible and we have a fast turnaround of test results.
It’s important to get any symptoms of myeloma checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Our conveniently located Ramsay hospitals offer screening for myeloma without waiting with expert haematologists.
You can read more about our cancer care and treatments or please get in touch if you’d like to talk to us about any concerns.