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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.


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.


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.


Myeloma is a cancer that forms in the plasma cells, according to Cancer Research UK. Plasma cells are found in the bone marrow. It is also called multiple myeloma, due to the fact that it can grow anywhere that bone marrow is found, from hip bones to the rib cage.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


There is some evidence to suggest that multiple myeloma may be hereditary, according to the American Cancer Society. Specifically, people with multiple myeloma in their family history are four times more likely to contract the disease. However, the majority of people with multiple myeloma have no fa