What is Multiple Myeloma? - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

What is Multiple Myeloma?

Posted: Updated:

He's covered everything from presidents to war zones, but Tom Brokaw's toughest assignment is just getting started. The longtime NBC Nightly News anchor revealed he is battling a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. Brokaw and his doctors are optimistic about his outcome but the disease is incurable.

Overnight, Brokaw has become the face of Multiple Myeloma. We know he's fighting cancer, but what exactly is this disease? Multiple Myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells in a person's bone marrow. Essentially something has triggered the body into creating too many abnormal plasma cells which interferes with healthy blood cell production. These abnormal plasma cells also don't produce antibodies so the immune system can't fight off infections; making this disease much like a leukemia or lymphoma. Treatment often requires chemotherapy to wipe out the abnormal cells and then a follow up with a bone marrow transplant but beyond that doctors have few long-term answers.  

"This disease is not curable as we know however it is very controllable now with the amount of medications that we have and there are many medications coming down the pipeline so it will help in controlling the disease further until eventually we find a cure for it." Said Dr. Ahmed Galal, a hematologist at Avera McKennan.

20,000 Americans are diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma each year, another 11,000 end up losing their fight. If any good comes out of Brokaw's Battle it is that more awareness will be brought to the disease and more funding for research projects. Big strides have been made, but until there's a cure there is still plenty more to be done.

"10 years ago it was expected 36 months survival at best, now we are talking about eight years and nine years so it's a huge difference in survival for this kind of fatal disease basically." Said Dr. Galal.

Multiple Myeloma is a rare diagnosis, only counting for one percent of all cancers. But it is able to be treated aggressively and effectively at both of our local hospitals.

  • Owning Your Outdoors: Tree Care

    Owning Your Outdoors: Tree Care

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:36:12 GMT
    Doug says that the natural crown line of a tree should be easy to identify.Doug says that the natural crown line of a tree should be easy to identify.
    There are a number of reasons to prune and crown trees. Trees can grow to close to buildings, power lines or sidewalks and become a hazard. Trees can also be crowned and pruned to make them cosmetically more appealing.More >>
    There are a number of reasons to prune and crown trees. Trees can grow to close to buildings, power lines or sidewalks and become a hazard. Trees can also be crowned and pruned to make them cosmetically more appealing.More >>
  • Sioux Falls picks talent for events center opening

    Sioux Falls picks talent for events center opening

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:27 AM EDT2014-07-30 07:27:30 GMT
    Sioux Falls is selecting local musicians and entertainers to perform during the opening of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.More >>
    Sioux Falls is selecting local musicians and entertainers to perform during the opening of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.More >>
  • Michael Myers intends to sue Secretary of State Jason Gant

    Michael Myers intends to sue Secretary of State Jason Gant

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:36 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:36:04 GMT
    One of South Dakota's candidates for gov. is suing the secretary of state. Independent Michael Myers says Jason Gant is defying the Constitution by blocking his lt. gov. change. One of South Dakota's candidates for gov. is suing the secretary of state. Independent Michael Myers says Jason Gant is defying the Constitution by blocking his lt. gov. change.
    One of South Dakota's candidates for gov. is suing the secretary of state. Independent Michael Myers says Jason Gant is defying the Constitution by blocking his lt. gov. change. More >>
    One of South Dakota's candidates for gov. is suing the secretary of state. Independent Michael Myers says Jason Gant is defying the Constitution by blocking his lt. gov. change. More >>
  • Avera Medical Minute AHH: Rebuilding hearts, rebuilding lives

    Avera Medical Minute AHH: Rebuilding hearts, rebuilding lives

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:45:09 GMT
    Every survivor will tell you, they never saw it coming. For most people, heart attacks are a serious wake up call to get their life and health on track. So, how do you do that? To those who want and need it, the Avera Heart Hospital is helping rebuild hearts and encourage healthy living.More >>
    Every survivor will tell you, they never saw it coming. For most people, heart attacks are a serious wake up call to get their life and health on track. So, how do you do that? To those who want and need it, the Avera Heart Hospital is helping rebuild hearts and encourage healthy living.
    More >>
  • Potential changes to speed up city ordinance process

    Potential changes to speed up city ordinance process

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:43:03 GMT
    It's no secret Van Eps Park is causing problems. Minnehaha County just put up a fence to separate the park from the neighboring parking lot.More >>
    It's no secret Van Eps Park is causing problems. Minnehaha County just put up a fence to separate the park from the neighboring parking lot.More >>
  • Body of 'apparent stowaway' found in U.S. Air Force plane that traversed Africa

    Body of 'apparent stowaway' found in U.S. Air Force plane that traversed Africa

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:06:17 GMT
    The body of an "apparent stowaway" was found in the wheel well of a U.S. Air Force plane that traveled around Africa before returning to an American base in Germany, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.More >>
    The body of an "apparent stowaway" was found in the wheel well of a U.S. Air Force plane that traveled around Africa before returning to an American base in Germany, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.More >>
  • Ebola fears hit close to home

    Ebola fears hit close to home

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:05:15 GMT
    Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.More >>
    Patrick Sawyer had one stop to make before heading home to Minnesota to celebrate his daughters' birthdays: a conference in Lagos, Nigeria.More >>
  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8 million in defamation case

    Jury awards Ventura $1.8 million in defamation case

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:03:15 GMT
    Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura won $1.8 million Tuesday in his two-year fight to prove he was defamed by a military sniper and best-selling author who claimed to have punched out Ventura at a bar for bad-mouthing the Navy SEALs.More >>
    Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura won $1.8 million Tuesday in his two-year fight to prove he was defamed by a military sniper and best-selling author who claimed to have punched out Ventura at a bar for bad-mouthing the Navy SEALs.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KSFY. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service or our EEO Report.