Stem Cell Transplant: What to Expect from It?

An important weapon when it comes to the fight against certain blood cancers happens to be stem cell transplant. In the fight against leukemia, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it can work wonders and may help you to live longer. In several cases, it has been observed that it was able to cure blood cancers as well.


Yearly, around 50,000 transplantations are performed. Each year, this number is increasing by 10-20%. After having this type of transplantation, more than 20,000 patients have been able to live for five years or longer.


How it works?


It is the job of the become a stem cell donor to produce blood cells in healthy bone marrow. It also includes white blood cells which you must know is crucial to your immune system. Blood cancer will damage your bone marrow. Unfortunately, radiation and chemotherapy treatments also do the same. This type of transplantation will let new stem cells take over from the damaged marrow. As a result, you body will be able to produce cancer-free, healthy blood cells.


Your doctor will want to use stem cells from a donor. On the other hand, he/she might want to use stem cells taken from your own blood. The doctor needs to find a matching donor if he/she planning to use a donor’s cells. If your own stem cells are used then the blood will be drawn when the cancer is not active. No matter whose cell the doctor will be taking, the patient needs to have radiation and/or chemotherapy beforehand. This is because, it will kill the cancer cells and also destroy the damaged stem cell. So, with the transplantation the transplanted stem cells can take over.


You may be able to have an outpatient stem cell transplant if you are using your own cells. For it you need to have no other serious medical condition. It will be best to live nearby the hospital and also have a caregiver present who will be able to monitor you at home. The home environment must be prepared carefully, and you need to wear a mask when you will be stepping out.


Here what to expect from the transplant process:


Before the transplant

  • Your donor or you will be injected with special medicine because of which blood-forming stem cells from the bone marrow will enter the blood stream. It will be injected 4-5 days before the blood will be drawn.
  • The stem cells will be separated from the rest of the blood. Then it will be frozen.
  • The patient will be given low or high dose of radiation and/or chemotherapy. These conditioning treatments will be provided to ensure the cancer cells are killed and stem cells are destroyed. It is done to ensure transplanted stem cells can take over.


During the transplant


Infusion of the stem cells will be provided through a surgical port in your neck (central line). During this time, nurses will check on you continuously to ensure you do not develop issues like hives, fever, drop in blood pressure and chills. You may suffer from mild side effects like flushing, headache, shortness of breath and nausea.


After the transplant


  • After 2 to 4 weeks, your new immune system will start to work. The transplanted stem cell will graft to the bone marrow and start producing new white blood cells. You body will start to make platelets and red blood cells eventually.
  • In case of donor cells, the patient will be injected with anti-rejection drugs and antibiotics. This will help the patient accept the transplanted cells successfully.
  • For the first few weeks you need to stay in a germ-free environment.
  • For next six months you will need to make regular visits to outpatient clinic.


These were everything that you can expect from a stem cell transplant. Contact your doctor for stem cell match information.

Gift of Life Marrow Registry Also Offers Following Services :

Stem Cell Donation Near Me

Bone Marrow Donation Process

How To Do A Bone Marrow Drive

Contact US:
Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Address:  800 Yamato Rd suite 101  Boca Raton, FL
Phone: (800) 962-7769

Things To Consider When Choosing Bone Marrow Transplant

For some patients, bone marrow transplants become necessary because of several reasons. It could be because of some severe blood disorders including certain types of blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Further, many people have to go in for high-dose chemotherapy. These high dosages may be quite effective in getting rid of dangerous cancer cells. However, they also wipe out healthy cells and in many cases, the entire bone marrow is wiped out and destroyed. In such situations, the only option is to go in for a bone marrow transplant. When a person needs high dosage chemotherapy, often doctors go in for bone marrow transplant to replace the destroyed bone marrow with new ones. This will help the patients to ensure that after the therapy, the body gets high quality and fresh bone marrow. The same can be used for the production of high-quality blood stem cells from the blood cancer bone marrow transplant. This will help in augmenting the supply of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Be Aware Of The Side Effects

While the importance and criticality of bone marrow transplant cannot be ignored and underscored, we also must be aware of the possible side effects. Most people have mild side effects after a leukemia marrow transplant. In some cases, however, there are serious side effects possible. These include serious issues where the new cells are attacked by the immune system of the body, leading to the destruction of the bone marrow. There also is the risk of graft versus host disease apart from infertility and infections. Many patients also run the risk of new types of cancers. Organ damage and early menopause are also possible side effects of a bone marrow transplant. Others suffer from side effects that are caused by the indirect impact of the use of bone marrow cells. Preservatives are used and these could lead to nausea, headaches, shortness of breath or it could leave a bad and pungent taste in the mouth.

The Importance of Caregiving

The people who are candidates for bone marrow transplants should also be aware of the entire procedure starting from preparation to recovery. This process can be long and tedious. It would most certainly call for taking time off from work, family caring would be required apart from having to plan the various regular activities that you might have done when you are normal. You must bear in mind that your immune system would be weak and compromised and you would be at a higher risk of infections and other such problems.

Never be Too Far Away from Hospital

You may have to stay not too far away from the hospital for around 3 months. This is because your doctor may need to keep you under close watch and observation for any infections and other such issues. Traveling long distances is a problem and in many cases treatment may be required immediately without too much delay.

Insurance and Costs

Bone marrow transplant without an iota of doubt is a complicated and long process, especially for cancer patients. Hence, you must be aware of the financial consequences. You also should be sure that your insurance policy covers bone marrow transplants in your specific hospital. There are many parts to bone marrow transplant and be aware of the parts that are covered and the ones that are perhaps left out.

Contact US:

Gift of Life Marrow Registry
Address:  800 Yamato Rd suite 101  Boca Raton, FL
Phone: (800) 962-7769