Preconditioning for Blood and Marrow Transplant

Preparing for the transplant

Preconditioning takes from two to 15 days. In blood or marrow stem cell transplants, patients receive chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy in much higher doses than in standard therapy. This destroys the diseased cells as well as the normal cells. The transplanted stem cells will develop new healthy blood cells.

Preconditioning side effects

  • Temporary hair loss
    Depending on the type of treatment, hair loss may start anywhere from seven to 21 days after treatment begins. It will start to grow back after your last round of treatment.
  • Mouth sores
    Chemotherapy affects cells lining the mouth, resulting in sores. Medicated mouth rinses and pain medication may be prescribed.
  • Diarrhea
    The effect of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy on intestinal cells causes diarrhea. Antibiotics patients receive may also aggravate the condition. Anti-diarrheal medications can help.
  • Nausea
    Nausea can affect the appetite. Because nutrition is extremely important to recovery, patients should try to eat throughout treatment.
  • Skin changes
    Skin changes after chemotherapy and/or radiation may include dryness, flaking, discoloration and/or darkening and sensitivity to sun exposure. Report any new rash and any increased redness, pain, itching or changes in the texture of your skin, such as thickening.
  • Sterility
    This can be a long-term side effect of high-dose chemotherapy. Before treatment, men may choose to store their sperm in a sperm bank. Women may have embryos frozen and stored. An experimental option for women is to have unfertilized eggs frozen and stored.
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