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Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month

Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month

During the ‘Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month’ in March, we put multiple myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer, in the spotlight. This condition, that is also known as Kahler’s disease, is not easily diagnosed early on. However, the manifestation of one or more specific symptoms - the so-called CRAB criteria - may be indicative of the disease.

What is multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma occurs when plasma cells, a specific type of white blood cells, start growing in an uncontrolled way due to a mistake in their development. These malignant plasma cells (also called myeloma cells) accumulate in the bone marrow, where all different types of blood cells are produced. The uncontrolled growth of malignant plasma cells disrupts the production process of healthy blood cells, resulting in a shortage. Because there are often several (multiple) outbreaks in the bone marrow, the disease is known as multiple myeloma. Annually about 700 people in Belgium are diagnosed with multiple myeloma.1

A difficult diagnosis

Multiple myeloma is not always diagnosed early on. The symptoms often start gradually, so that patients might wait a while before going to the doctor.2 Moreover, the symptoms are rather general and often still mild: they are not specific to multiple myeloma alone, but also occur in several other conditions.3 As a result of these general symptoms, the disease is often diagnosed later than optimal for treatment. Although the symptoms are general, the occurrence of one or more specific symptoms - the so-called CRAB-criteria - may be an indication for multiple myeloma.


The CRAB-criteria refer to 4 symptoms that multiple myeloma patients may face. The presence of 1 or more symptoms may indicate multiple myeloma, but not all of them need to be present. The criteria are briefly explained in the animation below:

  • Calcium (elevated)

  • Renal failure

  • Anaemia

  • Bone lesions



Victories over Cancer

Multiple myeloma is less known to the general public, but it does have a major impact on patients and the people around them. At Janssen, we are committed to making multiple myeloma a treatable and in the future even curable disease. At the same time, we work every day to ensure that the symptoms of this disease are recognized more easily

Janssen in Belgium

Read more about our activities in the field of blood cancer, prostate cancer, and our other areas of expertise. You can also learn more about the activities of Janssen in Belgium. Follow us via social media on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up to date with current developments.

EM-54183 - 18-feb-2021