A bone marrow biopsy is a test to see if cancer has spread from your bloodstream to your bones. Your doctor may order one to check for a number of conditions, including blood disorders, cancer and causes of unexplained fevers or infections. A biopsy can help doctors decide what type of treatment you need and how much treatment to give you.
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside long bones in your body that makes blood cells. Cancer in the bone marrow, called multiple myeloma and plasma cell leukemia, starts in cells that make white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. These abnormal cells grow too fast and crowd out healthy blood cells. They also can’t work properly to fight infection or heal wounds. These cancers usually start in the bone marrow but can also develop in other tissues, such as the liver or lungs.
These cancers are hard to treat, and their numbers decline as they spread. Doctors use a variety of treatments to keep the cancer under control and extend your life expectancy. Some of these include chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants.
When you have bone marrow cancer, your life expectancy depends on the type of cancer and how far it has spread. You also might have other health problems that can affect your outlook, such as diabetes or heart disease. Your age and your general health can make a difference, too.
The survival rates cited below for plasmacytoma and multiple myeloma are based on people who were diagnosed with these diseases between 2012 and 2018. They don’t take everything into account. These numbers are based on whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, which bones it started in and how well your body responds to treatment.
There is no cure for myeloma, but you can improve your chances of survival with treatments. These include chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant to replace the blood-forming cells that are damaged by the cancer.
In a stem cell transplant, your doctor removes your own healthy stem cells from your bloodstream before chemo kills the cancerous ones. Your stem cells are then put into your bone marrow where they form blood-forming cells.
The specialized physicians at Norton Cancer Institute provide multiple myeloma treatment options that are designed to control the disease and extend your life expectancy. Our experts offer advanced clinical trials featuring promising new therapies and provide extensive support services for patients at every stage of their journey. We can guide you through your options and make decisions that are right for you. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and your family. You can find support from your family, friends and others affected by myeloma. You can join a support group or attend an educational seminar. You can learn about the latest research and treatments and get advice from other patients.