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Diagnosis

How Is Multiple Myeloma Diagnosed?

Physicians use several types of tests to diagnose multiple myeloma. However, signs of the disease are often discovered through routine medical testing, and certain tests are ordered to confirm the diagnosis.

A diagnostic work-up may include:

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Physicians may perform one or more of the following imaging tests:

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Staging

Staging is the process of determining how extensive the cancer is. It is an important part of diagnosis because it is used to determine the most appropriate treatment options for patients.

To determine the stage of the disease, physicians may perform a number of tests, including blood tests, CT scans, and MRI scans.

Multiple myeloma ranges from Stage I to Stage III. The stage of the disease takes into account whether it is causing problems in the bones or kidneys or abnormalities in the blood counts or calcium levels.

Some patients have what physicians describe as “smoldering” myeloma. This means the disease is in its early stages, but no symptoms are present.