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Role of Bone Marrow Transplant in Cancer Treatment

Bone marrow transplant is one such possible cure for cancer patients. Bone marrow is the site of generation and production of three major cells of our body named RBC, WBC, and platelets. Due to the gene mutation, cancer can occur in which the cells become abnormal and proliferate in abundance than required.

In bone marrow transplant, the expertise will replace the bone marrow producing cancerous cells with that of producing normal blood cells. It is one such viable technique for treating cancer.

Why is Bone Marrow Important?

Bone marrow is the spongy delicate tissue present in the hollow portion of your bones. Bone marrow is the site where stem cells originate. They can differentiate into different types of cells according to your body’s requirements. 

Your bone marrow produces three major cells of your body. The red blood cells carry oxygen within your body. The white blood cells are the major part of your immune system and the platelets are responsible for blood clotting when bleeding occurs.

Bone Marrow Transplant

Bone marrow transplant is the procedure in which the expertise exchanges the damaged bone marrow with the bone marrow that could produce normal and potential cells. Thus, bone marrow transplant replaces the damaged cells with the normal ones. 

Benefits of a Bone Marrow Transplant

  • Treats blood-related diseases like anemia, leukemia, and even cancer
  • Helps to replace diseased bone marrow with a healthy one
  • Preserves patient’s healthy cells during chemotherapy treatment
  • Enhances the immunity rate by fighting with malignant cells
  • It also reduces the risk of genetic ailments

How Can Bone Marrow Transplants Treat Cancer?

The treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy might result in some side effects and other related consequences. These cancer treatment methods destroy your body cells. Sometimes it can also affect your normal cells especially when you need a high dose of such treatments.

The transplantation of bone marrow during the cancer treatment is much safer as it does not kill any cells, instead, rejuvenates the new cells produced from healthy bone marrow. 

It can help to cope-up with the damaged cells due to chemo or radiotherapy. 

How is Bone Marrow Transplant Done?

Preparation

Before the transplant procedure, your doctor will recommend multiple tests to see whether the desired procedure is going to work on your body or not.

You may undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy through which your doctor will destroy the malignant cells before transferring the healthy bone marrow.

Extraction of healthy bone marrow

There are two ways for extracting healthy bone marrow, either from your own body or from a healthy donor.

In the case of donor cells, Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is the most essential step for a successful transplant. 

Every human being has some characteristic HLA types. The HLA types of donors and patients must match before the procedure.

In another case, the doctors will extract healthy bone marrow from your body two weeks prior to the transplant procedure. 

While it is being processed and preserved, the patient will receive chemotherapy to destroy all the malignant cells. This way, new cells can take their place after the transplant.

Actual procedure

After the multiple tests, your doctor gets surety regarding the procedure type and method. The defective bone marrow is extracted out through a needle and healthy bone marrow is infused inside the body.

It is a painless procedure and you won’t feel anything because of anesthesia. 

Recovery after the procedure

After the procedure is complete, you will have to rest in hospital for one-two week. Your doctor ensures that the side effect must not appear after the treatment or even if does appear, your doctor will give you medicines.

Bone Marrow Transplant Cost in India

You will find some of the prominent doctors and best hospitals in India for bone marrow transplantation. The hospitals here are well equipped and contain admirable facilities that can satisfy the patients.

The average bone marrow transplant cost in India ranges from USD 20,000 to USD 63,000. The prices can vary depending on the following conditions:

  • Location of the transplant center
  • Accommodation charges
  • Type of transplant procedure
  • Admission charges
  • Number of lab tests

City Wise Transplant Cost

Mumbai:     USD 22093.50 – USD 58916.00

Delhi:          USD 21089.25 – USD 56238.00

Chennai:     USD 19080.75 – USD 50882.00

Pune:           USD 20085.00 – USD 53560.00

Bangalore:  USD 20085.00 – USD 53560.00  

Types of Transplant Method

Based on the location of healthy bone marrow and transplant procedures, there are three types:

Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant

In an autologous transplant, the doctor extracts the healthy bone marrow from your body and preserves it for later. 

This procedure does not involve many risks like incompatibility and immune rejection.

The procedure is helpful for patients who require a high dose of chemotherapy for killing malignant cells. 

The high dose also affects some normal cells.

The damage done by chemotherapy is replaced by autologous stem cell transplants.

Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant

The allogeneic bone marrow transplant involves the transplant of healthy bone marrow from the donor’s body.

The donor can be your relative, acquaintance, or even someone you don’t know.

In most cases, a successful allogeneic transplant is performed when the donor is your relative.

It is because there is a greater chance for most of the HLA matching, however, it is not always necessary.

What You Need to Know

Be self-prepared before the transplant procedure

Take a quick decision regarding the procedural date. If you have any type of concerns, talk with the expertise as soon as you visit the transplant center.

You might have to undergo several tests depending upon the severity of the disease.

Be mentally prepared and trust your doctor.

Possible side effects

It might be possible that you might develop some side effects after the procedure. 

But, the majority of the side effects are curable.

Some of the post-transplant effects include dizziness, headache, mild fever, nausea, pain, persistent cough, etc.

Post-transplant recovery

When the transplantation procedure is successful, your doctor will advise you to stay inside the hospital for a few weeks. 

He will diagnose you to know whether the healthy bone marrow is properly working in your body.

Ask any of your relatives to be with you most of the time.

When you will get discharged from the hospital, try not involve in heavy activities, especially right after the treatment. Always try to eat a healthy meal and visit your doctor for persistent check-ups.

Conclusion

Surprisingly there is a 90% success rate of bone marrow or stem cell transplants. You can find much evidence regarding patients showing immense satisfaction after the transplant treatment.

Bone marrow transplantation has shown commendable results in the treatment of cancer. The expectancy rate is also higher. The people who underwent the transplant have a life expectancy rate of 5 to 15 years or even higher.

With that being said, fulfill yourself with positive thoughts and consume healthy food as your health is the most important asset in your life.

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