In a stem cell transplant, healthy stem cells are placed in your body to help your bone marrow start to work as it should.
If the stem cells came from your own blood or bone marrow, this is called an autologous transplant. You may be able to get part or even all of your treatment in an outpatient clinic. If you need to be in a hospital, you probably won't have to stay longer than 3 weeks.
If the stem cells came from another person (allogeneic transplant), you may spend 4 weeks or longer in the hospital. About 1 out of 4 people need to be readmitted within the first 3 months because of problems that may occur.
When you receive someone else's stem cells, you need treatment with medicine. This medicine is used to prevent your immune system from attacking the donor stem cells. You may also take medicine to help prevent the donor cells from attacking your body. Most people who don't have an immune system reaction take these medicines for 2 to 6 months.
Problems from a stem cell transplant may include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, hair loss, and bleeding. It can also cause an infection such as pneumonia. A severe, often life-threatening infection can occur after a stem cell transplant. You will need to take antibiotics for several months to prevent infection.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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