Stem Cell Transplant

Stem-cells are immature cells found in the bone marrow that “grow up” to be blood cells. There are three types of blood cells: white blood cells, which fight infection; red blood cells, which carry oxygen to and remove waste products from organs and tissues; and platelets, which enable the blood to clot. In a stem-cell transplant, cells are taken from a patient’s bone marrow or peripheral blood, cleansed of any cancer cells, and frozen until they are ready to be used.

Stem Cell Transplant for Cancer Treatment

For a few types of cancer including leukemia, lymphoma - hodgkins and non-hodgkins and multiple myeloma, stem-cell transplantation may be effective.

Patients who undergo a stem-cell procedure may experience short-term side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, mouth sores, hair loss and skin reactions. Additionally, these patients are at high risk of infection during the seven to ten days that their blood counts are low.

Coordination of insurance benefits

Stem-cell transplant procedures are very expensive. Many health-insurance companies cover some of the costs of transplantation for certain types of cancer. Insurers may also cover a portion of the costs if special care is required when the patient returns home. Federal government programs and local service organizations may also be able to help. See our insurance and financial resources.