Stem-Cell Transplantation: An Important Step in Cancer Care
Blood-forming cells are essential to our health. These special cells are found in the body’s bone marrow. They grow into the following types of vital blood cells:
- White blood cells. These cells are part of your immune system and help your body fight infection.
- Red blood cells. These carry oxygen throughout your body.
- Platelets. These are blood cells that help your blood clot.
Some cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can damage the body’s blood-forming cells. For some patients, doctors have developed a way to inject or transplant new cells to repair the damage.
The new, transplanted cells are called “stem cells.” Once injected into your bloodstream, these stem cells travel to the bone marrow. They take the place of the cells that were destroyed by treatment.
Stem-cell transplantation usually does not work against cancer directly. Instead, it can help you produce new blood-forming cells after radiation or chemotherapy treatments. However, in some patients with leukemia or multiple myeloma, stem-cell transplantation can directly affect the cancer.
In today’s medicine, stem-cell transplantation is most often used to fight leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. However, scientists believe stem cells have a bright future as a treatment for several other types of cancer. Major research projects are ongoing into stem-cell transplantation as an expanded treatment option.
Stem-cell transplantation can cause a number of side effects, including bleeding and lung problems. Your immune system also may be weak for a month or two, or even longer. Your risk of infection from bacteria and viruses may increase. As a result, you may have to limit your exposure to many things, including flowers, plants, fruit, vegetables, soil and even pets.
Regional Cancer Care Associates — Advanced cancer care close to home
If you’re seeking advanced cancer care such as stem cell transplants, look to Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA). And you won’t need to look far, because RCCA has so many locations that one of them is likely to be close to your home. At RCCA, we deliver the latest care along with the support, education and personal attention you need. Our highly trained and compassionate cancer staff is dedicated to your optimal health.