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How Myeloma Attacks the Body

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During her 20-year career in finance and insurance, Dawn Johnson of San Antonio, Texas, supported a variety of community programs. Following her career at USAA, Dawn Johnson continues to be an avid philanthropist supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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How Myeloma Attacks the Body

  1. 1. Dawn Johnson, San Antonio
  2. 2.  During her 20-year career in finance and insurance, Dawn Johnson of San Antonio, Texas, supported a variety of community programs. Following her career at USAA, Dawn Johnson continues to be an avid philanthropist supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society works to help find a cure for blood cancers including myeloma. Myeloma is a form of cancer that affects plasma cells. The plasma cell is a form of white blood cell that produces antibodies called immunoglobins to fight infection. Myeloma affects plasma cells, making them multiply uncontrollably within the bone marrow, to the extent that they crowd out healthy cells.
  3. 3.  The cancer also severely restricts the plasma cells to producing one antibody called paraprotein, which doesn’t fight infections and can cause kidney problems. Myeloma doesn’t appear as a tumor or lump. In fact, it is the high number of paraproteins in the blood together with the presence of affected plasma cells that helps doctors diagnose it. Myeloma can affect multiple areas of the body such as the spine, pelvis, rib cage, skull, arm, and leg. It is a relapsing- remitting cancer meaning patients often suffer periods of increased symptoms/complications and then a plateau phase without noticeable symptoms.

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