TRANSPLANTATION WITH OTHER TREATMENTS
Depending upon the type of disease for which you are being treated, your doctor may prescribe chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy as part of your treatment plan.
Transplantation and Radiation Therapy
Not everyone who has a blood or marrow stem cell transplant undergoes radiation therapy, but it can be a very effective treatment for many cancers and blood diseases. If radiation therapy is part of your treatment plan, you will meet the radiation therapy team before your admission for your transplant.
Prior to beginning radiation therapy, you will undergo "simulation," which is a preparation session before your treatment actually begins. Simulation consists of taking several special X-rays and body measurements. These are needed, in some cases, to make lead shields, which are worn during radiation therapy to protect organs that are sensitive to radiation, such as your lungs.
In some cases, radiation therapy is administered before a patient is admitted for his/her transplant. These treatments may be administered to a person's whole body or to the areas of the body that have the disease. They may be administered every day for several weeks or two or three times daily over several days. Each treatment may take from 10 to 30 minutes.
Having radiation treatment is similar to having an X-ray. You will not see, hear, or feel the radiation. You may, however, experience some nausea following the treatments.
Radiation Treatment Do’s and Don'ts
There are a number of precautions you should take to ensure that your radiation therapy proceeds successfully. You should not wear any jewelry during radiation therapy, because metal may increase the radiation dose to that area. You should also avoid wearing tight clothing. Don't remove the ink marks from your skin until you have fully completed your radiation treatments. Don't apply any lotions, creams, or oils to your skin while receiving the treatments. You and your clothes do not become radioactive from the treatments, nor do you transmit radiation to other people. You may be given a mask, a gown, a hat, and gloves to wear before going for treatment.
Transplantation and Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is another treatment that rids the body of cancer or blood disease. Depending on the disease being treated, one or more types of chemotherapy (with or without radiation therapy) may be administered as part of your transplantation treatment. The transplantation doctors and clinical nurses will discuss with you which chemotherapy drugs will be most effective in treating your disease, and they will review the most common side effects with you. Chemotherapy may be administered intravenously or in pill form.