Update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Information regarding COVID-19 is in constant change, as is the situation regarding vaccination and prioritization for immune-compromised individuals.

If you have any COVID-19-related questions, we’ve created a specific COVID section on our website that can be accessed by clicking here or by selecting the “News & Events” tab from our homepage. In this section, you’ll find the latest news and information about the pandemic in Canada from trustworthy and reliable sources.

Any specific questions that you may have regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, delays between vaccine dosing, and prioritization within your province are best answered by your healthcare team. They’re the ones who know you and your particular situation and are therefore in a position to best address your unique concerns.

Created by, and entirely focused on, Canadians impacted by myeloma, Myeloma Canada is the only national charitable organization committed to providing you with the most up-to-date and reliable information on myeloma. Some of the ways we do this is through our monthly e-newsletter, “Myeloma Matters”, as well as through our social media platforms.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at contact@myeloma.ca or toll-free at 1-888-798-5771 with any questions regarding our programs and services.


Make a donation

What Causes Myeloma?

We know that multiple myeloma develops when genetic "errors" occur in the DNA of plasma cells (a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow), causing them to multiply uncontrollably and overproduce one type antibody (immunoglobulin).

We also know what happens when these "errors" occur. Yet, despite the tremendous amount of work devoted to searching for their cause, we don't yet fully understand why these errors occur.

Current knowledge suggests possible associations between myeloma and a decline in immune function, genetic factors and environmental factors.

It's important to remember that having one or more risk factors does not mean a person will definitely get myeloma. Most people who develop myeloma have no clear risk factors. The causes of myeloma are likely to be unique to each patient, in the majority of cases. Myeloma may be the result of complex interactions between several factors.

  • The single most significant risk factor for multiple myeloma
  • 96% of cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 45
  • The average age at diagnosis is the early 60s
  • 75% of cases involve people over the age of 70
  • Myeloma is NOT inherited in the same way as some other diseases (such as those caused by a single inherited gene)
  • There is a slightly higher incidence of myeloma among first degree relatives of patients
  • Some inherited genetic "errors" can increase the likelihood of developing myeloma, but they have a very small effect
  • Myeloma is slightly more common in men than in women
  • Higher-than-average risk occupations:
    • Agricultural, petroleum and leather industry workers
    • Firefighters
    • Cosmetologists
  • Risk is increased with exposure to certain types of agricultural and industrial chemicals:
    • Herbicides
    • Insecticides
    • Petroleum products
    • Heavy metals
    • Plastics
    • Various dusts (ie, asbestos, etc.)
  • Exposure to large amounts of radiation (survivors of the atomic bomb explosion in Japan)

For more information, download the Multiple Myeloma Patient Handbook

Designed to provide educational support to patients, caregivers, families, and friends, this handbook gives accurate, reliable, and clear information on myeloma. Topics cover its causes and effects, how it is diagnosed and the treatment options available in Canada.