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MRI shows a shadow in lumbar area, have essential thrombocytosis. Being watched for a month. Is it this big deal?

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Practicing since : 2004
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I HAVE RR MS. am 72 years old and have only known about it for 10 years. Have had 3 MRI s of the head and 2 of the lumbar spine over the years. Recent MRI showed "a shadow" in the lumbar area as I was informed by my MD's nurse. I was then referred to a hematologist/oncologist (I also have essential thrombocytosis controlled by hydroxyurea). They said I had a wee amount of protein in my blood and will be "watching me over the next months." I have had monthly blood tests for 25 years. No big deal. Why are they making such a mystery out of this.?
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 11 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
You have done well battling MS for so many years. I am sure that you will do well for many more years to come.

The lumbar shadow may be because of various causes- normal variant/artefact, area of bone loss, MS related changes, age-related degeneration, etc.

Probably they thought of myeloma-a malignant bone disease, for which they sent you to a hematologist. He has probably done a serum electrophoresis which has showed small amount of monoclonal protein. Monoclonal protein is secreted by one single clone of 'B' cells in the body as against the normal proteins, which are secreted by a whole lot of 'B' cells and known as polyclonal.

At the age of 72, around 5% of people have a small amount of monoclonal proteins in their blood and need nothing more than follow-up to see whether it is increasing over time or causing any problems like bone defects, anemia, high calcium and kidney failure. Over time, only 5-10% will need some treatment. Others will continue to do fine.

If you can send me the detailed reports, then I may be able to guide you better.

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