Understanding Multiple Myeloma – What is Blood?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer affecting plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell.

Blood is pumped around your body to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and take away waste products. It is made up of:

  • red cells — carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body
    Red cells
  • white cells — fight infection
    White cells
  • platelets — form clots to stop bleeding.

The different kinds of blood cells are made by the bone marrow (the spongy part in the centre of bones). The bone marrow contains stem cells, which are primitive blood cells that develop into either red cells, white cells or platelets. When a stem cell matures, in most cases it is released into the bloodstream.
Plasma cells, which are affected in multiple myeloma, are a type of white blood cell that normally remains in the bone marrow. They:

  • form part of the immune system
  • help fight infection by making proteins called antibodies, which attack bacteria and viruses that infect the body.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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