linked in pixel

Multiple Myeloma

Why choose Ochsner Health for multiple myeloma care?

At Ochsner, we provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for patients with multiple myeloma. Patients who choose Ochsner have access to a large multidisciplinary team of specialists, state-of-the-art diagnostic and monitoring technologies, including MRIs and whole-body PET scans. Qualifying patients may also enroll in early and late-phase clinical trials that include the use of newer therapies such as CAR T-cell therapy.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell that helps the immune system fight infections. These white blood cells originate in the bone marrow and can spread through the body. Experts aren’t sure what causes abnormal plasma cells, but multiple myeloma reduces blood cell production. Low red blood cells are often a first symptom of multiple myeloma, which is diagnosed with a blood test, bone marrow biopsy and imaging tests. This type of blood cancer is serious, but the disease is highly treatable today and many people can live a quality life for many years after their diagnosis.

Multiple myeloma doesn’t typically cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages. In the later stages, people with this condition may experience:

  • Bone pain, particularly in the spine or ribs

  • Bones that break easily

  • Bruising or bleeding easily

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Frequent illnesses or infections

  • Weakness in the arms or legs

If left untreated, multiple myeloma can lead to kidney damage and kidney failure.

People older than 45 are at increased risk of developing the disease, and men are more likely to develop multiple myeloma than women. Black people are twice as likely as white people to develop the condition, possibly because of genetic factors. Being overweight or obese also increases the risk of developing multiple myeloma.

Patients with multiple myeloma usually receive a stem cell transplant. Ochsner’s Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program is one of only two healthcare facilities in Louisiana to be fully accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy to perform autologous and allogeneic bone marrow/stem cell transplants. The foundation is the only accrediting organization that addresses all quality aspects of stem cell and cellular therapy.

Our dedicated cancer care professionals work together to deliver the most effective treatment and support available. We provide our patients with specialized knowledge and a personalized treatment plan, which can make a big difference in your quality of life and recovery.

The Ochsner multidisciplinary myeloma care team includes:

  • Blood bank and cellular processing physicians

  • Dietitians

  • Hematologists

  • Nurse practitioners

  • Nurses

  • Pathologists

  • Pharmacist

  • Physician assistants

  • Psychologists

  • Radiologists

  • Social workers

We have multiple myeloma programs available throughout the region, including in Jefferson, Baton Rouge, Slidell and Covington. Find a location near you.

Ochsner Health is one of only two cancer care centers in Louisiana accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy.

U.S. News & World Report has given Ochsner’s cancer care a mark of excellence for patient services and the use of advanced technologies.


Yes. Ochsner is one of the busiest myeloma centers in Louisiana. Dedicated myeloma centers with experience like ours can lead to better outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma.

There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but it is highly treatable. The cancer care experts at Ochsner have helped many patients achieve remission and return to regular routines. We also continue to carefully monitor our patients.

A stem cell transplant treats certain types of hematologic (blood) cancer. Stem cells live in the bone marrow, where they divide and make blood and immune cells. Once these cells mature, they leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream. During a stem cell transplant, stem cells are transplanted from the bone marrow, the bloodstream or the umbilical cord blood of newborns.

A stem cell transplant is not a surgery. Stem cells are given intravenously. For those who wish to donate stem cells, there are two ways to do it:

  • Blood donation is the most common way to donate stem cells. The donor first receives injections that stimulate increased stem cell growth. The stem cells are then collected and frozen until needed.

  • Surgery is another, less common way to donate stem cells. A needle is placed into the back of the hip bone to extract the stem cells which are then filtered and frozen until needed.

Once the stem cells are ready to be used, they are thawed and put into a patient’s bloodstream intravenously. The stem cells then travel to the bone marrow, where they start to make blood cells. After a few weeks, blood tests are used to measure the patients’ blood cells.

Family members ages 18 to 65 are often considered first as potential donors. To begin, the family member takes a blood test to see if they are a good DNA match. If they are a good match, they are tested to see if they are healthy enough to have the procedure.

Many patients don’t have a suitable family member and instead depend on donors from around the world who are listed in a donor registry. Donors who want to join a registry give a DNA sample via a swab. The DNA is analyzed and the information is added to the Be The Match Registry. Donors in the registry are between 18 and 40 years of age and in good health. Find the full list of medical guidelines to become a donor in the registry.

More than 70% of patients who need a stem cell transplant don’t have a family member who qualifies for donation. They depend on people like you. Many resources are available to help you decide whether to donate. Becoming a donor takes commitment as it requires several hours to safely harvest stem cells, as multiple appointments during the four to six weeks leading up to the donation. Not every member of the registry goes on to donate, but all donations are given with the hope of being a match for someone in need.

Read more healthy living and lifestyle tips.

Get tips in your inbox.

Sign up for our free newsletters to get the best of our healthy living tips delivered straight to your inbox.

Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma Locations

Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport - Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
1501 Kings Highway
Shreveport, LA 71103
  • Monday – Friday: 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
St. Tammany Cancer Center - A Campus of Ochsner Medical Center
900 Ochsner Blvd.
Covington, LA 70433
  • Mon – Fri: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Health Center - Robert Boulevard
1120 Robert Blvd.
Slidell, LA 70458
  • Mon–Fri: 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge
17050 Medical Center Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans
1514 Jefferson Highway
New Orleans, LA 70121
  • Open 24/7