Multiple Myeloma Stages
There are three different multiple myeloma stages, they are stage I, stage II and stage III. The Durie-Salmon staging system was used earlier to classify the different stages in Multiple Myeloma Cancer. It is used in many places still now. However, in today’s medical world the staging is mainly done with the Internal Staging System, which started when the International Myeloma Working Group came up with this system in the year 2005.
Here, the staging is done on the values derived from serum beta-2 microglobulin and serum albumin tests. Multiple myeloma cancer is divided into three distinct stages based on these two values and some other test results. However, the multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cell can be asymptomatic and symptomatic, which are the two types of this disease.
First Stage Of Multiple Myeloma
The first among the three multiple myeloma stages has slight or no symptoms at all. It has considerably less number of myeloma cancer cells in the body. The myeloma cells are the abnormal plasma cells that are produced in the bone marrow. This stage is also known as “smoldering” multiple myeloma. At this stage, the amount of calcium and the number of red blood cells in the body are normal.
Tumors are also not found in the bone, moreover the presence of M-protein in urine or blood is also low. One can identify this stage when the test results show value of beta-2 microglobulin to be less than 3.5 mg/L but serum albumin to be greater than 3.5 mg/L. A myeloma in the first stage is expected to live for approximately 62 months.
Second Stage Of Multiple Myeloma
The second of the multiple myeloma stages experiences the spread and presence of moderate amount of myeloma cells all over the body. It is known as “indolent” multiple myeloma. Here the results show the presence of beta-2 microglobulin to be less than 3.5 mg/L or between 3.5 mg/L and 5.5 mg/L. This stage shows a number of symptoms and with the progress of disease, it requires immediate medical attention. Patients are expected to live up to 44 months at this stage.
Third or Final Stage Of Multiple Myeloma
The third and last of all the multiple myeloma stages is identified with the spread and presence of large number of myeloma cells in the body. This stage requires effective, rigorous and continuous treatment. Here, the beta-2 microglobulin value is greater than 5.5 mg/L. The body experiences decrease in the amount of red blood cells causing anemia and increase in the level of calcium in blood since the bones gets damaged.
Tests can detect the growth of tumors in bone, sometimes more than plasmacytomas in the third stage among the three multiple myeloma stages. The level of M-protein is also increased in urine and blood in this stage. The disease becomes incurable in this stage. It is the most complicated and dangerous stage where the life expectancy of the patient is just 29 months approximately.