Let’s talk about multiple myeloma
What is multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a rare blood cancer that affects a type of white blood cell called plasma cells.
When plasma cells are working as they should, they help us fight diseases by producing antibodies to fight infection. However, when plasma cells have DNA damage, they can grow out of control and weaken your immune system. Damaged plasma cells—also called multiple myeloma cells—can rapidly spread inside the bone marrow and replace normal cells.
While MM is not the most common cancer, it does disproportionately impact Black communities. In fact, we are 2x more likely to die from the disease than other groups of people. Our race and backgrounds influence our genes that get passed down from generation to generation. Researchers have found differences in the MM cancer gene that people of Black descent carry.
The good news? While we may have a higher rate for getting MM, research has shown our genes may carry a lower-risk, less aggressive version of the MM gene. This means that if caught early and treated, we may have better results than other groups of people.
MM depicted in the spine