Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma

There are several tests for multiple myeloma that help with the diagnosis of the disease. These include:

  • Blood tests to check protein and calcium levels and evaluate kidney function. Blood tests will also measure the level of M protein and other immunogoblin in the blood. High levels indicate a problem which requires further investigation
  • Myeloma also causes anemia and low white blood cell counts. Therefore a CBC or Complete Blood Count will indicate abnormal blood count levels
  • Urine tests will also check for the presence of a type of protein known as Bence Jones protein or other antibodies in the urine.
  • Bone x-rays may be able to indicate if a bone is fractured or hollowed out due to a tumor.
  • Bone density tests can indicate if there is any bone loss.
  • A bone marrow biopsy will determine the presence of cancer. This is the only sure way to know whether myeloma cells are affecting your bone marrow. There are two different ways in which a doctor can procure the bone marrow. The first is through bone marrow aspiration and the other via a biopsy. Either one or both of the procedures will be used to check for myeloma cells.
Most routine blood tests will initially indicate a problem. Following this, doctors generally recommend bone x-rays and conduct a complete physical exam before recommending other tests to reach a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.