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The exact cause of multiple myeloma is not known as of 2015, states Mayo Clinic. Normally, multiple myeloma begins as a condition called monoclonal gammopathy, or MGUS, which is benign. Approximately 1 percent of people with MGUS develop multiple myeloma.


According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple myeloma is a cancer that develops in plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that help the body fight infections by producing antibodies to detect and attack germs.


According to the American Cancer Society, there are three stages of multiple myeloma. Stage one is characterized by a relatively small presence of myeloma cells, stage two is characterized by a moderate number of myeloma cells, and stage three is characterized with a large volume of cancerous cells.


The life expectancy for someone with multiple myeloma depends on the stage of the disease when diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. Stage I patients have a median survival rate of 62 months. Stage II patients have a life expectancy of 44 months, and stage III is 29 months.


Possible side effects of multiple myeloma treatment include infection, fatigue and nausea, according to Everyday Health. These side effects are common among multiple myeloma patients irrespective of the treatment method and the health status of the patient.


End stage multiple myeloma is the final stage of advanced multiple myeloma. According to MedlinePlus, the symptoms of end stage multiple myeloma include vomiting, nausea, urination problems, numbness in legs and constipation.


While no cure exists for multiple myeloma as of 2015, most individuals diagnosed with the condition can slow the progression through treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplants, and live for many years, states WebMD. Multiple myeloma often returns after a remission, however


Some symptoms of multiple myeloma can cause pain such as bone pain, abdominal pain and back pain, explains the American Cancer Society. Some patients who develop multiple myeloma have no pain or other symptoms, however.


The survival rates for multiple myeloma are 62, 44 and 29 months for stages one, two and three, respectively, according to Cancer.org. Physicians use survival rates for multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects plasma cells, to gauge a patient’s outlook or prognosis.


Light chain multiple myeloma is a variation of myeloma in which cancerous plasma cells produce antibodies that contain only light protein chains, explains UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Usually, an antibody consists of two heavy protein chains and two light chains, notes the A