House Majority Leader Steve Scalise revealed on Monday that he was undergoing treatment for a type of blood cancer.

“After a few days of not feeling like myself this past week, I had some blood work done. The results uncovered some irregularities and after undergoing additional tests, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a very treatable blood cancer. I have now begun treatment, which will continue for the next several months. I expect to work through this period and intend to return to Washington, continuing my work as Majority Leader and serving the people of Louisiana’s First Congressional District. I am incredibly grateful we were able to detect this early and that this cancer is treatable. I am thankful for my excellent medical team, and with the help of God, support of my family, friends, colleagues, and constituents, I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges,” he wrote in a tweet.

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Multiple Myeloma treatment

According to American Cancer society, there are various treatments available for this type of blood cancer. There are some local treatments available, which involves treating the tumor without affecting the rest of the body. These treatments are more likely to be useful for earlier stage (less advanced) cancers, although they might also be used in some other situations.

There are also systematic treatments, where Multiple myeloma is treated using drugs, which can be given by mouth or directly into the bloodstream. These  systemic therapies can reach cancer cells anywhere in the body. 

“Depending on the stage of the cancer, whether or not you are a candidate for a stem cell transplant, and other factors, different types of treatment may be combined at the same time or used after one another,” the organization says.

Multiple Myeloma symptoms

Early in the disease, there are hardly ant signs or symptoms of Multiple Myeloma. However, when they do appear, it usually includes bone pain, especially in one’s spine or chest, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, mental fogginess or confusion, fatigue, frequent infections, weight loss, weakness or numbness in your legs and excessive thirst.

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Multiple Myeloma causes

The exact causes of Multiple Myeloma is not known.

The only thing that has been medically proven, according to Mayo Clinic is that myeloma begins with one abnormal plasma cell in one’s bone marrow. The abnormal cell multiplies rapidly.

Because cancer cells don’t mature and die like normal cells do, they keep on accumulating. In the bone marrow, myeloma cells keeps increasing and healthy blood cells become a minority, leading to fatigue and an inability to fight infections.

Is Multiple Myeloma hereditary?

Genetic mutations that cause myeloma are acquired and not inherited. Nevertheless, family history is a known risk factor for multiple myeloma. First-degree relatives — parents, siblings, and children — with multiple myeloma have a twice or thrice the risk of developing the disease than those who do not.