Risk Factors for Myeloma

A risk factor is something about you that increases your chance of getting a disease or having a certain health condition. Some risk factors for myeloma you cannot change, but some you can. Changing the risk factors that you have control over will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Risk factors do not mean that you will get the disease. Many people who have these risk factors do not develop the disease and many who develop the disease did not have any of these risk factors.

The risk factors for myeloma are:

  • Age – Myeloma is more common in people over age 65.
  • Gender - Men are at a greater risk of developing myeloma.
  • Race/ethnicity – African Americans have a much greater chance of developing myeloma than whites.
  • Radiation exposure – Exposure to radiation may increase the risk of developing myeloma.
  • Family history – Myeloma does seem to run in some families. People with a first-degree relative, such as a mother, brother, or child, with the disease are four times more likely to get it themselves. However, most people with myeloma have no affected relatives.
  • Obesity – Obese people are at increased risk of developing myeloma than are those who maintain a normal weight.

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