In monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), your body makes an abnormal protein that circulates in your blood. This protein rarely causes problems. But it may be a sign that you have another condition that does need treatment. Over time, MGUS can give rise to a serious disease, like multiple myeloma.
At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), our team of experts provides comprehensive diagnostic and medical care, including ongoing monitoring and support, for people with MGUS and related blood disorders.
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What is MGUS?
MGUS is a condition in which plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in your bone marrow, begin making an abnormal monoclonal protein, or M protein. About 3 percent of people over 50 have MGUS.
It can occur along with a range of other conditions, such as osteoporosis, neuropathy and blood clots. In about 1 percent of cases per year, MGUS progresses to multiple myeloma or another malignant blood disorder.
Symptoms and diagnosis of monoclonal gammopathy
Typically, MGUS doesn’t cause symptoms. Doctors usually discover it during routine blood work or testing to investigate another condition you have.
If initial tests show M protein, your doctor will order further blood tests and possibly urine tests to see how M protein is affecting your body and to check for associated conditions.
SCCA offers a full array of services to diagnose MGUS and any related health problems you may have.
When symptoms of MGUS do arise, they differ depending on the effects of the M protein and any associated condition. Symptoms can include:
- Anemia-related symptoms, like fatigue and weakness
- Bone or soft tissue pain
- Tingling or numbness in your feet or hands
- Recurring infections
- Increased bruising or bleeding
- Weight loss
- Vision problems
MGUS by itself is not harmful, so it usually doesn’t warrant treatment if it isn’t causing symptoms.
But because MGUS may progress to a more serious condition, it’s important to closely monitor your health and level of M protein to detect and treat any problems that might arise. This approach, called watchful waiting, usually means seeing your doctor regularly for physical exams and blood work. It’s also important to let your health care team know between checkups if you develop any new symptoms.
SCCA’s team of doctors provides regular monitoring for people with MGUS, as well as a comprehensive range of treatment options for related conditions, including malignant diseases like multiple myeloma.