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Our bodies produce specific proteins that are in our blood stream. Many of these proteins perform as part of our body’s defense against infections. Plasma cells can be affected by cancer; the name for a plasma cell neoplasm is multiple myeloma. Loss of appetite, bone pain and weakness are all signs of this disorder, as well as leg pains and numbness in the legs.
Sometimes, however, the cells that make these proteins make too much, and our nervous systems are adversely affected by the abnormal protein products. Muscle weakness, numbness of our limbs and fatigue can be caused by overproduction of these agents.
Diagnosis is often made through the use of a blood test called the serum protein electrophoresis. Blood and urine are tested for special immunoglobulins. A bone marrow biopsy is used to evaluate cell production of blood and plasma cells.
Therapy often includes plasmapheresis, chemotherapy and immune therapy specifically designed by your hematologist. New therapies use medication that stop the growth of blood vessels that nourish abnormal cells and also use radiation to stop production of these abnormal proteins. Finally, a stem cell transplant can be used to treat this disorder.