Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.
view all


Please add profiles for those who have or have died of Multiple Myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells. Normal plasma cells, a type of white blood cell, are found in the bone marrow and are an important part of the immune system. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, & is a form of bone marrow cancer. Plasma cells normally produce our antibodies. Multiple myeloma features abnormal proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow, destructive bone lesions, and the production of abnormal proteins, specifically antibodies. Multiple myeloma is also referred to as myeloma. The cancerous myeloma plasma cells proliferate and crowd out normal plasma cells and can etch away areas of bones. The proteins produced in large amounts can cause many of the symptoms of the disease by making the blood more thickened (viscous) and depositing the proteins in organs that can interfere with the functions of the kidneys, nerves, and immune system. The cause is unknown.

Multiple myeloma is characterized by several features, including:

  • 1) Low blood counts (anemia)
  • 2) Bone & calcium problems (ie: bone tenderness, pain, weakness, fractures)
  • 3) Infections
  • 4) Kidney problems (damage & possible failure)
  • 5) Monoclonal gammopathy (having many copies of the same antibody)
  • 6) Light chain amyloidosis (abnormal plasma cells make too many light chains, which can be deposited in tissues & build up-- causing cardiac, kidney or other organ complications)

What are risk factors for multiple myeloma? Is multiple myeloma hereditary?

  • The definitive cause of multiple myeloma has not been established, but research has suggested several factors may be risk factors or contribute to multiple myeloma development in an individual. A genetic abnormality such as c-myc oncogenes and others have been associated with multiple myeloma development. Currently, there is no evidence that heredity plays a role in multiple myeloma development so it is not considered to be a hereditary disease. Environmental exposures to herbicides, insecticides, benzene, hair dyes, and radiation have been suggested as causes but definitive data is lacking. Inflammation and infection have been suggested but again not proven to cause multiple myeloma.

What is the prognosis for multiple myeloma? What is the survival rate for multiple myeloma?

  • The prognosis of multiple myeloma is variable, depending on the approximate stage and response to therapy. Though there is no cure for the disease, today's treatments are more effective and less toxic (have fewer side effects) than did many in the past. Multiple myeloma is a focus of active ongoing research.
  • The median survival rate, beginning at the point of first treatment according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), according to stage of the disease is as follows:
    • Stage I, 62 months
    • Stage II, 44 months
    • Stage III, 29 months

Complications of multiple myeloma may include kidney insufficiency, bleeding disorders, bone problems like pathological fractures, hypercalcemia, and neurological problems (for example, spinal cord compression, intracranial plasmacytomas, and others).


  • Multiple myeloma is a relatively uncommon cancer. In the United States, the lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 143 (0.7%).
  • The American Cancer Society’s estimates for multiple myeloma in the United States for 2017 are:
    • About 30,280 new cases will be diagnosed (17,490 in men and 12,790 in women).
    • About 12,590 deaths are expected to occur (6,660 in men and 5,930 in women).
  • The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100.
    • The 5-year survival rate for people with multiple myeloma is about 49%. Survival has steadily increased over the last decade, so the 5-year survival rate may underestimate the impact of recent progress made in the treatment of this disease. Moreover, several factors affect an individual’s survival, such as the person’s age and overall health. For instance, it is known that survival rates are higher in younger people than in older people.
  • Overall mortality rates peaked in the mid-1990s and have fallen in recent years.
  • Men have a higher incidence of myeloma than women. In addition, African Americans have over twice the incidence and mortality rates of whites.

Risk factors for myeloma include being middle aged or older, being black, being male, having been exposed to radiation or certain chemicals, and having a personal history of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) or isolated plasmacytoma of the bone. There is no standard or routine screening test for myeloma. Standard treatments for myeloma include chemotherapy, corticosteroid therapy, targeted therapy, high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant, biological therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and watchful waiting.

Famous People who died of Multiple Myeloma:

  1. Ranker - Famous People who died of Multiple Myeloma (80 listed)

For Further Reading:

Jump back to