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Multiple Myeloma Chemotherapy Side Effect-Anemia

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“Causes of anemia-Chemotherapy damages bone marrow. But this is usually temporary, and anemia usually improves a few months after chemotherapy ends..”

Anemia can either be a symptom of multiple myeloma (MM) or a side effect of chemotherapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma. This blog post is about anemia as an adverse event aka side effect of chemotherapy.

When MM patients undergo chemotherapy most have their red blood cells (hemoglobin) levels drop. If you undergo chemotherapy for your MM it’s not a matter of if your red blood cells drop but how much they drop.

Many MMers have their red blood cells drop enough to require a therapy holiday.The MM patient must stop all chemotherapy in order to prevent the further drop of hemoglobin.

One of the many blood tests that MMers get regularly is the CBC (complete blood count). One of the “blood counts” is hemoglobin and red blood cells. If your hemoglobin and RBC levels drop a little bit but remain in the normal range then, in my exerience, you may feel tired but still be okay. If your hemoglobin and RBC levels drop below the normal range you will feel tired and your oncologist may call for a chemo holiday.

Have you been diagnosed with multiple myeloma? Do you have anemia? I am both an MM survivor and MM cancer coach. Multiple myeloma is a complicate, incurable blood cancer. Experience and research have taught me that MM patients need to use both conventional (FDA approved) and evidence-based, non-conventional therapies to manage their cancer.

Therapies to manage anemia are:

  • Blood transfusion
  • Medications (erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs))
  • epoetin alfa (Epogen, Retacrit, Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp)
  • Vitamin or mineral supplements
  • Foods-(red meat, beans, broccoli, others)

Please scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


“About red blood cells- Red blood cells contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron protein that carries oxygen to all body parts. When red blood cell levels are too low, the body parts do not get enough oxygen. As a result, they cannot work properly.

Red blood cells are made in bone marrow. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue found inside larger bones. A hormone called erythropoietin tells the body when to make more red blood cells. This hormone is made in the kidneys. Therefore, damage to bone marrow or the kidneys can cause anemia.

Signs and symptoms-Managing symptoms, which can include anemia, is an important part of cancer care and treatment. This is called palliative care or supportive care. Talk with your health care team about any symptoms you or the person you are caring for experience.

People with anemia may have some of these symptoms:

Causes of anemia-

  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy damages bone marrow. But this is usually temporary, and anemia usually improves a few months after chemotherapy ends. Also, chemotherapy with platinum drugs may harm the kidneys. These drugs include cisplatin (Platinol) and carboplatin (Paraplatin).
  • Radiation therapy. Certain types of radiation therapy damage bone marrow:
    • Radiation therapy to large areas of the body
    • Radiation therapy to bones in the pelvis, legs, chest, or abdomen


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