Digital News Report – Multiple Myeloma took the life of Democratic politician Geraldine Anne Ferraro today. She was an attorney, a Vice Presidential candidate, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 9th district and an Ambassador to the United Nations. She also ran unsuccessfully to the U.S. Senate.
Ferraro was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in November 1998. She complained about being unusually tired at the end of her senate campaign. She kept it a secret until 2001.
Multiple myeloma is a form of cancer. Also known as myeloma or Kahler’s disease, it affects the plasma cells. The loss of these white blood cells affects the production of antibodies and can bring on immunodeficiency and hypercalcemia, or high calcium levels.
This is a rare cancer representing one percent of all cancers, but it is deadly. More common among the black population, the prognosis is three to four years. New treatments have helped extend the lives of those affected to seven years.
Fatigue; Excessive fatigue prompted Ferraro to seek help.
Bone Pain: Bone pain is a common symptom. The pain usually involves the spine and ribs first. Activity will worsen the pain.
Infections: Pneumonias and pyelonephritis are common.
Anemia: When the bone marrow is replaced by tumor cells, anemia can occur.
Renal Failure: The excess calcium can cause renal failure.
Radicular Pain: This is pain radiating from the nerves connected to the spinal column and sciatica. It can travel down the upper thigh, calf and foot.
Other symptoms include headache, visual changes and retinopathy. Patients may lose bladder and bowel control. Finally it can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and amyloidosis,
By Jason Chang
Image: Ferraro left, Hillary Clinton middle and Nancy Pelosi right.