YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A blood cancer in older people is rare but very dangerous.

Multiple myeloma is a relatively uncommon cancer that affects less than one percent of our population. Still, that’s more than three million people.

People younger than 45 rarely get the disease. It occurs more in older men than women, and your risk is doubled if you’re African American.

“Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that produces a lot of proteins that can cause damage to various organs, particularly the bones as well as the kidney,” said Dr. Rahma Warsame, who works in hematology at the Mayo Clinic.

The symptoms vary but they can include fatigue, bone pain, anemia and frequent infections.

Researchers don’t know what brings it on, but it begins with an abnormal plasma cell in a person’s bone marrow, which produces too much protein and multiplies rapidly. That protein starts showing up in their blood.

Like many other cancers, it can be treated with medication, chemotherapy, radiation and even bone marrow transplant.

Doctors still look at it as incurable, however. The treatments can improve the quality of life and prolong it.