Doctors aren’t likely to make a multiple myeloma diagnosis by accident. The condition itself may be reached following routine blood work and it may even be suspected during x-rays for broken bones. Unfortunately, it is most commonly discovered as the result of patients reporting to doctors that they are experiencing certain symptoms of multiple myeloma, like pain.
The problem with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma is that the symptoms are often vague and could be attributed to countless other health issues you may face. A definitive diagnosis is typically made upon referral to a hematologist, or blood specialist, for further testing.
In fact, you probably go through many rounds of tests along the way – both diagnostic testing to confirm a suspected myeloma diagnosis and prognostic testing to develop a prognosis for your specific condition.
In fact, you will likely go through a variety of tests, including blood tests, urine tests, and bone tests as part of the process of diagnosing your condition and coming up with the right balance of treatment for your conditions.
Even after your treatment methods have been prescribed and are being conducted you will likely experience further testing to determine the toll your treatment methods and the multiple myeloma are taking on your body.
Why Test the Blood for a Diagnosis of Myeloma?
There are many reasons the blood is tested when diagnosing myeloma. First, it’s to compare the number of red cells, white cells, and platelets in your blood. Your physician will also want to explore the total amounts of protein and calcium in your blood for the general knowledge as well as to understand how well your kidneys are functioning. Other blood tests will be ordered to confirm the myeloma diagnosis and to determine who rapidly the disease is progressing from one appointment to the next.
What does Urine have to do with Myeloma?
Some people might feel that your urine is a strange thing to test for a disease that targets your blood. The problem is that secretions made by myeloma cells, which are now running rampant in your body, reduce the ability of your kidney’s to properly filter your blood. But that’s not all. To add insult to injury, the condition causes your bones to break down, increasing the calcium levels in your blood that need to be filtered. Urine tests help to determine how far the myeloma has progressed and what kind of response your body is having to the treatments you’re using.
Bone Tests and Myeloma
Your bones will be tested quite frequently with X-rays to identify changes in bone structure and whether there are weak spots or areas of concern. Bone marrow aspiration tests are quite common and may be repeated as you fight the disease. Bone marrow biopsies are typically performed as part of your multiple myeloma diagnosis by removing a sample of solid bone tissue by inserting a needle into your bone.
Just as every case of multiple myeloma is different and every person living with multiple myeloma is different, the diagnostic process will vary greatly from one person and experience to the next.