Risk factors are the inherited or acquired factors that increase the chance of developing cancer in a person. Several epidemiological studies have suggested a number of genetic and environmental factors that may predispose to Multiple Myeloma. A knowledge about them helps us to make necessary lifestyle choices.
Following is the list of multiple myeloma risk factors:
- Exposure to radiation: History of radiation exposure is the most potent risk factor for the development of multiple myeloma. Even an exposure to low level of radiation also carries an increased risk of developing multiple myeloma.
- Industrial/Occupational exposure: Regular exposure to heavy metals like nickel, or harmful gases/fumes, especially benzene and petroleum products has been indicated to increase the risk of multiple myeloma.
- Family history: Higher incidences of multiple myeloma are observed in individuals with a history of multiple myeloma in close relatives.
- Plasma cell disorders: People with certain plasma cells disorders, for example, MGUS are considered to be at higher risk of disease progression to multiple myeloma. Thus, such individuals should be followed-up closely.
- Race: Incidence of multiple myeloma is twice as common as in African Americans than in Caucasians.
- Age and gender: Multiple myeloma is more common among higher age individuals and among males compared to youngsters and females, respectively.
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In the next section, you will read about the symptoms of multiple myeloma.