Stem cell transplant, also called a bone marrow transplant, is used to treat some blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma). During stem cell transplants, high doses of chemotherapy (and sometimes radiation) are given to patients to help get rid of cancer cells throughout the body. This treatment also kills the blood forming cells in bone marrow called stem cells. Stem cell transplants are used to replace the stem cells that are killed during t high dose chemotherapy.
There are different kinds of transplant. The kind of transplant depends on where the cells come from and who they come from. The most common type of stem cell transplant in Nova Scotia is called a peripheral stem cell transplant. This kind of transplant involves taking the stem cells out of the body through an IV. The stem cells are then returned back to you intravenously (IV), like a blood transfusion.
There are two types of peripheral stem cell transplants. The first is called an autologous stem cell transplant. The second is called an allogeneic stem cell transplant. An autologous (Auto) stem cell transplant is when the stem cells are removed from you, frozen, and then redelivered to you after you receive high doses of chemotherapy. An allogeneic (allo) stem cell transplant is when stem cells are removed from another person (a donor) and then given to you through an IV after you receive high doses of chemotherapy.
How do I prepare for my appointment?
If you are eligible for this treatment you will first have a consult appointment. For this appointment, you should bring: - their health card and a list of current medications. It is important for you to have a care partner with you for this appointment.
A care partner is a responsible adult who will come with the patient to and from the hospital and helps as needed outside the hospital. You must have a care partner throughout the stem cell transplant process.
What should I expect at my appointment?
The first consult appointment takes about 2 hours. During this time you will meet with the stem cell transplant doctor who will discuss this treatment option in detail. You will also spend time with a stem cell transplant coordinator who will provide information about the process.
The stem cell transplant team may ask questions to get to know you and will also provide you with time to ask your questions.
The stem cell transplant Coordinator will arrange for you to meet with multiple members of our team who will provide care and support throughout. For example:
- Nurse Practitioner
- Social Worker
Will there be any follow up?
If you are eligible for a stem cell transplant a coordinator will call you to arrange any follow up tests, procedures, or appointments.
- Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- Autologous Stem Cell Transplants (Video)
- Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplants (Video)
Visit our Nova Scotia Health Authority Cancer Care Program patient information site here.