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monoclonal gammapathy; what's the significance
Mar 25, 2001

Last year I was diagnosed with Lymes Disease. As part of the exam, blood work was done at which time an abnormal protein band was detected in the gamma globulins. I went to an oncologist who conducted further test. My abnormal protein band is .05 as of February of this year. Also, my white blood cell count was 3.7 thous/mcl, HDL-cholesterol = 226 and LDL-cholesterol = 154. All other lab findings were in range, negative or non reactive.

I am a 46 y/o black male, 220 lbs. No prior medical history of consequence. My primary Dr. said there is nothing to worry about, she will monitor it annually during my physicals.

Only because I was recently denied reinstatement of my life insurance due to a history of monoclonal gammapathy I am now researching the cause and potential of the diagnosis. Please explain what this means from an insurability standpoint.

Thank you in advance, RD

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear RD: I feel for you. You basically have a laboratory abnormality (monoclonal protein) which can't be ignored, even though most likely there is indeed nothing to worry about. Monoclonal proteins are sometimes the first sign of cancer so I can understand your insurance company's reluctance to cover you. More often than not (about 80% of the time), the monoclonal proteins tend to be NOT significant. You'll know only with time. You should have your monoclonal proteins monitored on a regular basis, a few times a year (two or three times). Hopefully in time your monoclonal protein will go away by itself or at least not rise. I have many patients in your position. You may need to look for a different insurance company. From a medical standpoint, nothing else needs to be done at this time, though some oncologists would perform a bone marrow biopsy to be sure of what you have. I personally would recommend rechecking the protein in about 3-4 months. If it is the same or less, I would do nothing. If it's higher, I would do a bone marrow at that time. Hope this helps. In short, I don't think you have to worry too much, but I can't give you a guarantee. BD.


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