Causes of Multiple Myeloma

No one knows the exact causes of Multiple Myeloma. Experts are still trying to find out why some people develop the disease while others don't. However, what is known is that there are some factors that increase a person’s chance of developing the cancer.

  • Age: The older you are, the greater your chances of developing the disease. Multiple myeloma is very rare among people younger than 35 years and is most common among those above 65.
  • Race: African Americans are in the highest risk category for developing multiple myeloma. Asian Americans on the other hand fall in the lowest risk category. Why this occurs is still not fully understood.
  • Gender: Men are more vulnerable to developing multiple myeloma than women. Again the reasons for this are unknown.
  • History of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance or MGUS: This is a benign condition where the plasma cells develop abnormally and produce M proteins. Though there are no disease symptoms, blood test results will show higher levels of M protein. People with MGUS may be more susceptible to developing full blown multiple myeloma or other cancers in time.
  • Family History of Multiple Myeloma: Risk rates are higher if you have a family member with multiple myeloma.
  • Obesity: Being obese can increase your chances of developing many different types of cancers including multiple myeloma.
  • Diet: Some studies show that people who follow a diet low in green vegetables and fish may have a higher risk of developing the disease. However, more conclusive evidence is still required to prove this theory.
  • HIV / AIDS: Having HIV / AIDS lower the resistance of the immune system and hence increase the risk of developing multiple myeloma or other types of cancer.
  • Exposure to chemicals and toxins such as metals, asbestos, insecticides and petroleum products may result in a higher risk of developing the condition. Similarly, people working in the leather industry, oil industry and cosmetology tend to have higher chances of developing multiple myeloma than others.