Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Reducing Your Risk of Multiple Myeloma

The exact cause of multiple myeloma is not known, so prevention is difficult to determine. Reducing risk factors may decrease the chance of developing multiple myeloma. Risk factors, like age and genetics, cannot be controlled but decreasing certain exposures may help:

  • Occupational exposure to certain chemicals—People who work in the petroleum industry may come into contact with chemicals that are known to be harmful. If possible, try to find work in a different environment. If it is unavoidable, take steps to protect yourself from exposure. Check with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or the Environmental Protection Agency about any available protective guidelines.
  • Radiation exposure—Radiation accumulates in the body over the course of a lifetime. Radiation does occur naturally, but low doses are also delivered during medical and dental procedures. Repeated doses of this radiation may increase the risk of multiple myeloma. Work with your doctor or dentist to limit the number of exposures by only having necessary tests.
  • SmokingQuitting smoking is an important step in preventing most cancers. For people who smoke, it takes the body longer to fight infections and heal wounds. The sooner smoking is stopped, the sooner the body can start to heal. Talk to your doctor about the options available to help you successfully quit.

Can multiple myeloma be prevented? American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated January 19, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2017.

Multiple myeloma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated November 21, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2017.

Last reviewed March 2017 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 5/6/2016