Stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant is a form of treatment that is used to treat and cure different types of cancer such as lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma. This form of treatment involves using high dosage of chemotherapy or sometimes even whole body radiotherapy given by radiologists to kill the cancer cells in the bone marrow. In addition to the cancerous cells, stem cell transplant treatment also kills the stem cells in the bone marrow. It is when your bone marrow stops working and no longer produces enough healthy blood cells that your doctor suggests you to undergo stem cell transplant treatment. Apart from curing bone marrow cancer, this form of treatment can also treat some types of blood cancer. During the procedure, doctors usually collect healthy stem cells from the blood samples of either the patient or a donor and inserts it into a vein through a drip in order to replace the dead cells that the high dose of chemotherapy treatment has killed. There are two different types of stem cell treatment: autologous transplant i.e. getting your own stem cells for transplanting the dead ones, and allogeneic transplantation i.e. getting donor cells for transplantation purpose. The entire procedure takes about 3 – 4 hours of time.
Post the treatment, you might experience weakness for the first few weeks or even for several months. About two months after the transplant, you'll have to seek an appointment with the doctor who'll collect samples of your bone marrow to see whether or not you're producing all types of healthy blood cells. Bone marrow transplants are expensive, while the average cost of an allogeneic bone marrow transplant is around $800,000, the cost of autologous transplant will cost you around $350,000.
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