A bone marrow transplant for leukemia has many severe side effects. This blog post explains how a bone marrow transplant works and its purpose.
You will also discover the side effects of this treatment and the natural way to deal with leukemia.
The information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe treat or cure cancer.This information is not intended as medical advice, please refer to a qualified healthcare professional.
What Is A Bone Marrow Transplant?
A bone marrow transplant is a medical treatment. In this procedure, you replace the cells in the bone marrow with healthy ones. The replacement cells can either come from your body or a donor.
A bone marrow transplant is also called a stem cell transplant. Another name is a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
This procedure treats certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. It can also treat other blood and immune system diseases that affect the bone marrow.
The bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue in the body that contains hematopoietic stem cells. You can find them in the center of most bones.
So what exactly are stem cells?
What Are Stems Cells?
Stem cells are unique cells that can make copies of themselves. They change into many different cells that your body needs. You can find several types of stem cells in various body parts.
Cancer and cancer treatments can damage your hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are stem cells that turn into blood cells. You can also find hematopoietic stem cells in the blood moving throughout your body.
These cells either become white or red blood cells or platelets.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. They also bring carbon dioxide to your lungs so they can exhale it.
White blood cells are a part of your immune system, and platelets form clots to stop bleeding. If stem cells become damaged, they may not become red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
A bone marrow transplant puts healthy stem cells back into your bone marrow or your blood. This process restores your body's ability to create red or white blood cells and platelets.
Different names for Bone Marrow Transplant
So let's learn how a bone marrow transplant works.
How A Bone Marrow Transplant Works
There are specific procedures that doctors use during a bone marrow transplant. First, they place a small tube called a catheter in the patient's chest.
It remains through the transplant process. Doctors give you chemotherapy, other medications, and blood transfusions through the catheter.
There are different types of bone marrow transplants. The two main ones are allogenic transplants and autologous transplants.
Stem cells for an autologous transplant(Allo) come from your body. Doctors treat your cancer with high-dose, intensive chemotherapy, or radiation. These treatments damage your stem cells and your immune system.
That's why doctors remove or rescue your stem cells from your blood or bone marrow before chemo. After chemotherapy, they restore healthy stem cells to your body. This procedure patches your immune system and your ability to produce blood cells.
Stem cells for an allogenic transplant(Allo) come from another person, called a donor. The patient receives a donor's stem cells after chemotherapy or radiotherapy
A haploidentical transplant (haplo) is a half-matched stem cell transplant from a family member. Donors can be parents, siblings, children, or cousins of the patient.
A biological parent or child is always a half-match to the patient based on genetics. Doctors use a haploidentical transplant when they can't find a perfect match.
The primary bone marrow transplants are autologous and allogenic. Let's first look at an autologous transplant
How An Autologous Transplant Works
During an autologous transplant doctors first collect your stem cells. This step takes several days. First, you will get injections of medication to increase your stem cells.
Then your doctor collects the stem cells through a vein in your arm or chest. The cells will be stored until they are needed.
The second step of this procedure takes five to ten days. You will get a high dose of chemotherapy, or sometimes radiotherapy.
After your chemo treatments you will get your stem cells back. This step is your transplant day. It takes about 30 minutes for each dose of stem cells. This process is called an infusion.
Doctors put the stem cells back into your bloodstream through the catheter. You might have more than one infusion.
After the procedure your doctor will watch your cells' recovery and growth. You will take antibiotics to reduce your infection. Your doctor will also treat any side effects.
Let's look at how an allogenic transplant works.
Steps Used During An Allogenic Transplant
Before doctors perform an allogenic transplant they must find a donor. They will first try to find one in your family or a volunteer. Doctors have to find a suitable donor through blood testing.
After some testing, they will find a suitable donor. Doctors either collect cells from the donor's blood or bone marrow. Your donor will get daily medication if the cells come from the bloodstream.
The drug increases white cells in their blood for a few days before the collection. Then doctors collect the stem cells from their bloodstream. If the cells come from bone marrow, your donor goes through a bone marrow harvest.
After doctors have taken stem cells from a donor they will start chemo or radiatherapy. This step takes five to seven days. After the treatments your doctor infuses the donor's stem cells into your bloodstream.
Getting the donor cells usually takes less than an hour. During your recovery, you will get antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection. Your doctors will also treat any side effects from the transplant.
Now that you know how a bone marrow transplant works, let's look at the side effects.
Side Effects Of Bone Marrow Transplants
The main side effects of a stem cell or bone marrow transplant come from chemotherapy and targeted drugs if you have them. Chemotherapy cause unpleasant side effects.
It is so toxic that doctors need to use protection to handle it. Chemo destroys the body, can increase your cancer risk, and has a low success rate.
A bone marrow transplant is like destroying the weed in your garden by dropping a bomb. When you have destroyed everything, you transplant a healthy plant from another garden and expect it to grow.
Chemo causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and hair loss. High doses of chemotherapy and radiation target fast-dividing cancer cells. But even healthy cells get destroyed by it.
One significant side effect of a transplant is pain.
Bone Marrow Transplants Can Cause Pain
You may also experience pain after a bone marrow transplant. It can come from sores in the mouth and throat. A condition called mucositis is common. It's a disorder in which the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed. It makes eating difficult or impossible.
Other causes of pain include:
- Skin irritation from conditioning therapy
- Lumbar punctures
- Skin biopsies
- Intravenous line placement
- Infection from the drug neupogen
- Catheter-site infection
Our red blood cell count will fall after treatment. Doctors check your red blood cell count every day. If it gets too low, you might feel tired and breathless.
You might need a blood transfusion to top up your red blood cells. This procedure will make you feel better almost straight away. Your platelet level will fall after your treatment. Platelets help the blood to clot.
A low platelet level means you are at risk of bleeding. You might find you are bruising more quickly than usual.
Signs of a low platelet count include:
- Bleeding gums when you clean your teeth
- Heavy periods
- Blood in your urine or feces
- Bruises or small dark red spots on your skin
Doctors will give you a platelet transfusion if your platelet count becomes too low. You have the platelets as a drip into your vein. It takes about half an hour.
Sometimes people react to platelets. Your platelet count can take a while to get back to normal after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.
Transplants can also cause tiredness, infertility, and anemia.
Patients Can Experience Tiredness After Transplants
It might take longer to recover if you use your stem cells instead of a donor. You won't have much appetite or energy after your transplant.
This state will be at its worst during the second and third weeks when your blood cell counts are at their lowest. You will feel more tired than usual for quite some time.
This period could last for up to a couple of years. A longer-term side effect of a transplant is infertility. Some people who had a transplant got children naturally, but this is unusual.
A bone marrow transplant can also cause early menopause in women. You might have hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with the symptoms. But that might lead to anemia.
Anemia is a disorder that causes your red blood cell count to be low. The blood cannot carry oxygen due to a lower number of red blood cells.
Another side effect after a transplant is sinusoidal obstruction syndrome. This condition means veins in the liver have blockages, causing organ damage. You might also get an infection after a transplant. Pneumonia is one of the most common.
The most serious side effect of transplants is graft-versus-host disease.
Graft-Versus-Host Disease From Transplants Can Cause Serious Side Effects
Graft-versus-host disease(GVHD) is another serious issue after a transplant. The donor's stem cells (graft) may attack healthy cells found in the recipient (host). GVHD is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition.
In this condition, the donor's T cells (the graft) do not recognize the host's healthy cells, so they attack them. A person can develop GVHD for several reasons.
If the donor is mismatched, the recipient may have a higher risk of developing GVHD. About 30–70% of people who undergo an allogenic transplant develop GVHD.
There are two types of GVHD: acute and chronic. Learn the difference between the two below.
Acute GVHD Vs Chronic GVHD
Acute GVHD often occurs within the first 2–3 weeks following a transplant. The new bone marrow begins to make new blood cells during this time. Your donor's immune cells then attack your healthy cells.
Acute GVHD can affect the skin, liver, and gut. It can cause various symptoms, such as skin rashes, diarrhea, or an increase in liver enzymes. Some people will go on to develop chronic GVHD.
Chronic GVHD often occurs in people who have experienced acute GVHD. It can happen anywhere from 3 months to over a year following a stem cell transplant. Cases of chronic GVHD can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms can be long-lasting and debilitating. Chronic GVHD can lead to skin problems and hair loss. It can also damage organs, such as the lungs and liver. Chronic GVHD can have different effects on many parts of the body such as:
- Restricted motion due to skin scarring
- Loss of tears, redness, and irritation
- Liver damage and failure
- Ulcers in the lining of the mouth
- Vaginal dryness
- Scarring and dryness of the lungs
Bone marrow transplants can also lead to death. Find out the risks below.
The Death Risk Of Bone Marrow Transplants
Most deaths after bone marrow transplants occur within two years. A relapse, GVHD, infection, or toxicities of a hematopoietic cell transplant often cause it. Your survival increases if you live beyond two years after the transplant.
The procedure's 2-year survival rate is about 55%. The risk of death decreases as patients survive longer after transplantation.
After six years of survival, the death risk goes down. Patients' mortality rate remains constant once they survive six years after BMT.
The mortality in bone marrow transplant patients decreased over the past four decades. But life expectancy among these patients remains shorter than the U.S. population.
Transplant patients had an 8.8-fold higher risk of dying than the population. The life expectancy of patients who underwent BMT was 20.8% lower than expected. That translate into 8.7 years of life lost.
Bone marrow transplants only treat the systems of cancer. It can't prevent it from returning. Learn how to stop cancer without using this aggressive treatment.
Cancer Is A Life Style Choice
A bone marrow transplant is a shotgun approach to treating cancer. This treatment causes several complications and doesn't address the core issue of cancer. It will also cause suffering.
If you want cancer to disappear, you need to look at its underlying causes. Cancer doesn't happen out of thin air. It is a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Several things increase our cancer risk. Animal products have several components that can boost our cancer risk. IGF-1 is a growth hormone. We require it at the beginning of our life when we need to grow. But as we grow older, we don't need it as much.
But since animal products contain IGF-1, you become exposed to it. When you prepare meat, you also create a toxic substance called heterocyclic amines. They form on the surface of the meat, such as the grill marks.
Meat also contains other unhealthy stuff such as saturated fat, heme-iron, and cholesterol. Since humans aren't great at digesting meat, we can't handle these things well. The result is more cancer.
Many people forget to drink purified water. Instead, they drink alcohol, sodas, coffee, and other unhealthy drinks. Stress can also increase our cancer risk when our trauma becomes too intense.
A lack of sleep, exercise, and vitamin D from the sun can also lead to more cancer. Therefore you should make sure to address these issues. Learn how to do that below.
A bone marrow transplant is a medical treatment where you replace the cells in the bone marrow with healthy ones.
It is also called a stem cell transplant or hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
This procedure treats certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma.
The bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue in the body that contains hematopoietic stem cells.
Stem cells are unique cells that can make copies of themselves.
These cells can turn white or red blood cells or platelets.
Doctors place a small tube called a catheter in the patient's chest before the transplant.
There are different types of bone marrow transplants: allogenic transplants and autologous transplants.
Stem cells for an autologous transplant(Allo) come from your body.
An allogenic transplant(Allo) uses stem cells from another person, called a donor.
A haploidentical transplant (haplo) is a half-matched stem cell transplant from a family member.
Doctors first collect stem cells and then use chemotherapy or other treatments before they restore stem cells.
The main side effects of a stem cell or bone marrow transplant come from chemotherapy and targeted drugs if you have them.
You may also experience pain after a bone marrow transplant.
After a transplant, you may lose your appetite or energy.
The donor's stem cells (graft) may attack healthy cells found in the recipient (host) called Graft-versus-host disease.
Acute GVHD often occurs within the first 2–3 weeks following the procedure.
Chronic GVHD can happen anywhere from 3 months to over a year following a stem cell transplant.
Most deaths after Bone Marrow Transplants occur within two years.
Bone marrow transplants only treat the systems of cancer.
If you want cancer to disappear, you need to look at its underlying causes and fix them.
How To Not Use A Bone Marrow Transplant For Leukemia
1. Fix you emotional wounds
2. Eat a plant-based diet
3. Get enough sleep
4. Stay in the sun
5. Drink purified water
Using a bone marrow transplant for leukemia won't fix the underlying issue behind the condition.
During my research, I have found that leukemia patients suffer from self-devaluation conflicts. They believe they are worthless and, therefore, manifest leukemia.
If you want to reverse leukemia, then letting go of your emotional trauma is a good start. Also, make sure to eat a plant-based diet and get enough sleep.
Staying in the sun is also a good measure against leukemia. You should also drink purified water, exercise, and detox.
To learn a natural way to treat leukemia, download our free leukemia protocol below.
Learn How To Defeat Leukemia Without Using Toxic Treatments
Download this free e-book to learn 9 natural remedies you can use to prevent leukemia cancer.
Discover how your stress causes leukemia, how to deal with it, and much more
Resources:(click to expand)
Icons made by Freepik, Smashicons, Kerismaker, and AmethystDesign