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MGUS (Monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance), aka benign monoclonal gammopathy )BMG) falls under the category of plasma cell disorders in which an abnormal amount of a single immunoglobulin is present in the serum. This monoclonal spike, or M component, is seen in multiple myeloma, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, primary amyloidosis and various rare heavy chain diseases. MGUS probably represents the common manifestation of multiple disorders and normal variants but it is considered a distinct entity from malignant disorders like non-plasma cell leukemias and lymphomas which occasionally produce an M-spike.
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Benign: Literally: innocent; not malignant. Often used to refer to cells that are not cancerous.
Chronic: Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
Cobalamin: Vitamin B-12. Essential for normal growth and functioning of all body cells, especially those of bone marrow (red blood cell formation), gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, it prevents pernicious anemia and plays a crucial part in the reproduction of every cell of the body i.e. synthesis of genetic material (DNA).
Enzymes: Specific protein catalysts produced by the cells that are crucial in chemical reactions and in building up or synthesizing most compounds in the body. Each enzyme performs a specific function without itself being consumed. For example, the digestive enzyme amylase acts on carbohydrates in foods to break them down.
Lymphoma: Any tumor of the lymphatic tissues.
Malignant: Dangerous. mainly used to describe a cancerous growth -- when used this way, it means the growth is cancerous and predisposed to spreading.
Melanoma: A life-threatening type of skin cancer that occurs in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment found in skin, hair, and the iris of the eyes.
Millimeter: (mm): A metric unit of length equaling one thousandth of a meter, or one tenth of a centimeter. There are 25.4 millimeters in one inch.
Protein: Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.
Selenium: An essential element involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium- containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. Clinical studies show that selenium is important in lowering the risk of several types of cancers. In combination with Vitamin E, selenium aids the production of antibodies and helps maintain a healthy heart. It also aids in the function of the pancreas, provides elasticity to tissues and helps cells defend themselves against damage from oxidation.
Serum: The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.