Understanding Hodgkin Lymphoma: Stem Cell Transplant
If Hodgkin lymphoma returns after treatment, you may need stem cell transplantation. This means that the hematologic oncologist specializing in transplants will transplant your own blood-forming stem cells. These stem cells are collected before you receive high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation. The cells are then preserved, frozen, and stored until the time of transplant. This enables you to receive high doses of chemotherapy, radiation, or both. These are called the “preparative regimen” or “conditioning regimen.” These high doses destroy Hodgkin lymphoma cells in your bone marrow creating a new space for the transplant cells to live.
Once the chemotherapy drugs have cleared from your body, you are ready to receive stem cells. Your stored stem cells are thawed and given back to you similar to a blood transfusion. This procedure is done through a flexible tube placed in a large vein in your neck or chest. The infusion time can range from 30 minutes to a few hours. Your body develops new blood cells from the transplanted stem cells.
What questions should I ask my doctor about stem cell transplantation?
Questions to Ask About Stem Cell Transplantation
You may want to ask the doctor these questions before having a stem cell transplant:
- What are the possible benefits and risks of a stem cell transplant?
- How long will I need to be in the hospital? Will I need special care? How will I be protected from germs?
- What can we do about side effects?
- How will having a stem cell transplant affect my normal activities?
- What is my chance of a full recovery?