Deciding on whether or not to agree to a stem cell transplant procedure can be quite daunting. Because of this, it is crucial to make sure you have all the information you can get. There is no better way to educate yourself regarding your different options than including your doctor in the discussion. Given this, here are just a few things you must discuss with your doctor prior to a stem cell transplant procedure.
Stem Cell Transplant Procedure | Maintaining a Healthy Dialogue
1. Which Procedure Will Work Best for Your Condition?
It is important to know as much as you can about the procedure itself. Moreover, there are actually different types of stem cell transplants involving different types of stem cells. The decision regarding which procedure to undergo depends on your condition. Generally, stem cell transplants can be put into two categories. A procedure is either autologous or allogeneic. An autologous stem cell transplant procedure can make use of the patient’s stem cells, while the allogeneic stem cell transplant requires a donor.
2. How Is a Donor Chosen?
Should the procedure be an allogeneic stem cell transplant, a donor is necessary for your procedure. It is important to clarify what traits and properties would make the best donor. Given this, you and your doctor must discuss how to search for the ideal donor for you.
3. What Type of Stem Cell Is Necessary?
There are different types of stem cells in your body. There is much controversy, in particular, in using stem cells from embryos. Given this, it is important you are aware of what would be needed for the procedure and where these stem cells are from.
4. Will There Be Other Forms of Treatment?
Although stem cell transplants have been highly efficient, this is not the only procedure involved. There are instances wherein a stem cell transplant also requires chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Additionally, there are certain conditions such as myeloma that involves low-dose chemotherapy.
5. What Are the Risks?
A stem cell transplant procedure does not come without risks. These risks are, in turn, dependent on what type of stem cell transplant you will undergo. An autologous procedure, for example, has a considerably lower risk of leading to graft-versus-host disease. This is because of how the said procedure involves the patient’s own cells being reintroduced into his or her body.
There are several other side effects to be aware of prior to the procedure. Also, it is possible for a stem cell treatment procedure to result in vulnerability to infection, bruising, organ failure, among several other things. Given this, it is important to talk to your doctor about the risks of your specific procedure.
6. What Is Graft-Versus-Host Disease?
Graft-versus-host disease occurs when the patient’s immune system attacks the new stem cells following a stem cell transplant. This is the biggest risk that occurs during the recovery period following the stem cell transplant procedure. Graft-versus-host can potentially be life-threatening.
But, there are several things you could do to reduce the risk of developing this condition. Given this, you might want to talk to your doctor about taking immune system suppressants in the time leading up to the procedure.
7. How Long Will the Recovery Period Be?
The recovery period following a stem cell transplant procedure can get quite rough. This is because of the patient’s weaker immune system. Moreover, there must be precautionary measures for avoiding infection. For your procedure, be ready to stay in the hospital for more or less six weeks. Also, it is necessary for you to remain near a hospital for the following two months for close monitoring.
Watch this video for 5 must-ask questions to ask your doctor when considering stem cell therapy:
It is vital to communicate well with your doctor before a stem cell transplant procedure. After all, maintaining a dialogue with your physician is one of the best ways to educate yourself regarding your options. Don’t go in this without being 100% sure that you’re ready for this procedure. Ask all the questions you have and surely, your doctor will be glad to educate you further, as well.
What other questions have you asked your doctor regarding a stem cell transplant procedure? Let us know in the comments below!
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