By Lizzy Smith | Posted - May 11th, 2015

 

 

 

 

What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Multiple Myeloma?

Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming in and of itself. The massive amounts of testing only add to the stress that comes. Knowing which tests you will get and what they are needed for can reduce the impact of these stressors.

Here are the basic tests done, the purpose of the test, what the doctors are looking for, and the methods done in administration of the test.

Myeloma Blood Tests

Purpose: Diagnosis and classification of multiple myeloma

What Are They Looking For: To find levels of monoclonal or M proteins, establish blood cell count and types of antibodies in the blood, create a chemistry profile, and evaluate the freelite serum free light chain assay or Bence Jones Proteins.

Methods: Draw blood using a needle

Pain Level: Minimal

Urine Tests

Purpose: Check for renal failure and diagnose multiple myeloma

What Are They Looking For: Assess kidney function, evaluate the freelite serum free light chain assay or Bence Jones Proteins.

Methods: Simple urine sample and a 24-hour urine collection

Pain Level: None, but carrying around your jug for 24-hours to collect urine can be inconvenient and takes some planning.

Bone Marrow Tests

Purpose:  Diagnosis and classification of multiple myeloma

What Are They Looking For: Calculate the percentage and number of multiple myeloma cells

Methods: Biopsy of bone marrow liquid with a needle

Pain Level: Can be quite painful, depending on the patient's tolerance and the person conducting the biopsy. Patients may request pain medications or to put under local anesthesia.

Imaging Tests

Purpose: Check for bone and chromosomal damage and classify multiple myeloma

What Are They Looking For: Establish the presence of lesions and structural changes

Methods: Skeletal Survey, X-Ray, MRI, CT, PET, Karyotyping, and FISH

Pain Level: Minimal

For more information

Myeloma Crowd's Myeloma Stages page

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation's Diagnostic Tests

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation's Diagnostic Criteria

Cancer.net's Multiple Myeloma Diagnosis

 
Lizzy Smith
About the Author

Lizzy Smith - Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.

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