Bone Marrow Transplant can be used to successfully treat a number of malignant and non-malignant diseases. Some of them being Leukaemia, Multiple Myeloma, Sickle Cell Disease, Aplastic Anaemia, Thalassemia, Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma etc. During a bone marrow transplant, the diseased and damaged bone marrow is first destroyed through chemotherapy and then replaced with healthy stem cells. These stem cells are immature cells which produce blood cells and help with the growth of new bone marrow.
Bone marrow transplant is a major surgery and can involve various complications and risks. Which is why, patients going through with a bone marrow transplant need to prepare well in advance and be completely aware of what they can expect from the procedure. Getting ready for a bone marrow transplant is an extensive process. Patients will need to do the following before going ahead with a bone marrow transplant.
Tests and Screening
Before a patient can got through with a transplant, they will need to get a number of evaluation tests and screening done to ensure that they are healthy and fit enough to go ahead with the transplant. Some of these tests are:
- Blood tests to check the health of the liver and kidneys and the blood type
- Electrocardiogram and Echocardiogram to check the health of the heart
- CT Scans
- Bone Marrow Biopsy
Harvest Stem Cells
For some bone marrow transplants, the stem cells are harvested from the patient themselves. The stem cells can be harvested either from the blood or from the bone marrow of the patient and later transplanted once chemotherapy has destroyed all the damaged and diseased cells. This harvesting of the healthy stem cells are done after all the health check-ups are completed.
Before the transplant, the patient will need to go through chemotherapy sessions to remove the cancerous cells. Once all the cancer cells have been destroyed, the patient will be ready to get the healthy stem cells transplanted. This process may require a week and it will suppress the patient’s immune system considerably. A weak immune system, however, will help the body from rejecting the new stem cells.
Patients who smoke will need to quit smoking before they start the treatment. Smoking leads to poor outcome after a transplant. A patient may not always be ready to disclose about their smoking habit, so doctors can get their patients tested for traces of chemicals, which are left behind by tobacco leaves.
Plan the Finances
Bone marrow transplant is an expensive procedure, so patients should be well aware of how much they will need to spend. The price for bone marrow transplant differs between countries, however, bone marrow transplant in India is much less expensive, when compared to other countries. If a patient is travelling to India or to some other country for a transplant, they should plan for their travel and stay well in advance, to avoid any problems. They should include these expenses as well to their total treatment cost.
Organise their Personal Life
Patients who go through a bone marrow transplant will need months to recover. During this time, they will require plenty of bed rest and time off from work. Hence, patients will need to make arrangements prior to the procedure to take time off from work and have someone around the house to help out with the household chores.