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What causes myeloma cancer?

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As of 2015, the cause of the majority of myeloma cancers is not known, but progress is being made in understanding how mutations in DNA turn tumor suppressor genes on and off, explains the American Cancer Society. Myeloma cells often have a missing chromosome, which can make myeloma more aggressive.

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What causes myeloma cancer?
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Another finding suggests that approximately 50 percent of people with a myeloma cancer have part of a chromosome that switches place with another chromosome, states ACS. This process is referred to as translocation, and it can turn on the gene that supports cell division, the oncogene. These types of genes are important because they allow tumors cells to divide and grow.

Some risk factors that increase an individual's risk of multiple myeloma development include age, race, family history, obesity and radiation exposure, explains ACS. For instance, the majority of people who have myeloma are over 65 years of age, and African Americans have twice the chance of developing this type of cancer than white Americans. Family history can also be an indicator, as myeloma can run in families. There is a link between obesity and myeloma development. People who are exposed to atomic bomb blasts, or in some cases low levels of radiation, may also develop myeloma.

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