What to Expect During Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy
At Orlando Health Cancer Institute, we offer the latest treatment options and use state-of-the-art technology. Our Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy team explains every step of the treatment process and prepares you ahead of time. We are committed to helping you feel comfortable while providing high-quality care.
Our team of compassionate medical experts completes your evaluation. During the evaluation process, we make sure you get only the tests you need and avoid unnecessary procedures.
The evaluation process for a bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy may include:
- Bone marrow biopsy
- Blood tests
- CT scans
- HLA tissue typing
- MRI scans
- Pulmonary function tests
- Psychological evaluations
Before a patient's bone marrow transplant, we will prepare and collect the stem cells. Our medical team will explain the procedures to the patient beforehand. We make sure the patient and donor understand what to expect and are comfortable with the process.
We collect stem cells from the donor or the patient before treatment. The stem cells can come from either the blood or bone marrow. For cells from the blood, either the patient or the donor will receive shots to increase the number of white blood cells in the body. This is done so there are more cells to collect. Shots are not needed for stem cells from the bone marrow.
Once healthy stem cells are collected, the patient will get a high dose of chemotherapy or radiation for five to 10 days to prepare the body for the transplant. This treatment makes room in the bone marrow for new cells, suppresses the immune system and destroys cancer cells.
Our goal is to help the patient feel comfortable during the bone marrow transplant. Our medical team helps patients by preparing them both physically and emotionally for the transplant.
On transplant day, the patient will receive an infusion intravenously (via an IV in the vein) of the new stem cells. This usually lasts for about 30 minutes. The patient will be awake during the procedure and should not feel any pain.
After a bone marrow transplant, your immune system will be weak, which will make you more vulnerable to infection. You will need to pay close attention to hygiene (such as washing your hands thoroughly) and avoid sick people, as well as places and activities that could put you at risk of infection.
Your care team will go over the risks with you and ways to avoid them. You will also receive a bone marrow transplant patient card to keep with you at all times for other healthcare providers to reference when necessary. This card will have your physician’s contact information, should they need it.
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