Causes and prevention of myeloma

The exact cause of myeloma is unknown. But there certain things called risk factors that can increase your chance of getting the disease. These include:

  • Age: Myeloma is more common in older adults, usually over 60.
  • Gender: It is more common in men than women.
  • Race: It is more common in black people than white or Asian people.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Petrol, oil, benzene, pesticides, dioxins, paints, rubber, hair dyes
  • Exposure to viruses: If you have HIV, hepatitis, herpes virus 8 or simian virus 40, you are more at risk.
  • Exposure to radiation: especially dioxins
  • Plasma cell conditions: If you have monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS) and smoldering myeloma, you are more at risk.
  • Other conditions: If you have an autoimmune illnesses, pernicious anaemia or ankylosing spondylitis, you are more at risk.
  • Family history: If your parent, brother or sister or your child is diagnosed with myeloma, you are between 2 and 6 times more likely to develop it.

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