Amyloidosis: About Amyloidosis

Amyloidosis is a rare disease affecting about 3000 patients in the United States each year. Although Amyloidosis may be associated with blood cancers such as multiple myeloma, it is not a cancer itself. Amyloidosis results from the buildup of an abnormal protein call amyloid. The amyloid protein accumulates in tissues and organs. This accumulation of the amyloid protein can cause symptoms and organ damage affecting how the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract work. 

The severity of amyloidosis largely depends on which organs are affected and how much amyloid has accumulated. The most life-threatening cases occur in patients with amyloid deposits in the heart. 

Amyloidosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms often mimic those of other conditions. Although it is a very uncommon, it is likely under-diagnosed. Patients often visit many doctors before finding the cause of their illness. Physicians at the Herbert Irving Cancer Center place a high priority on diagnosing and treating patients in the early stage of the disease before organs are seriously affected.