Radiation therapy for multiple myeloma
Radiation treatment is the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. It may be used to treat areas of damaged bone that have not responded to chemotherapy and are causing pain. It is also the most common treatment for solitary plasmacytomas.
Myeloma can weaken back bones so badly that the bones collapse and put pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This can cause sudden numbness or tingling, sudden weakness of leg muscles, or sudden problems passing urine or moving the bowels. This is a medical emergency that must be treated right away. The treatment may involve radiation therapy and/or surgery.
The type of radiation treatment used for multiple myeloma is called external beam radiation therapy. This means the radiation is given from outside the body. Having this treatment is much like getting an x-ray. But the treatment lasts longer and is usually done 5 days a week for many weeks.
More information about radiation therapy can be found in our document Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families.
Last Medical Review: 05/22/2014
Last Revised: 01/19/2016