Since a BMT is a complicated procedure, there are significant risks involved with it. However, younger people who don’t have any other serious conditions or those who receive transplants from a closely matched sibling are less likely to experience serious problems. Patients receiving transplants of their own stem cells (autologous transplants) are also less likely to experience serious side effects.
The main risks associated with a BMT are:
- Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) – this occurs in Allogeneic Transplants when the transplanted cells start to attack the other cells in the body
- Reduced Number of Blood Cells – this can lead to Anaemia, infection, bleeding.
- Chemotherapy Side Effects – including sickness, tiredness, hair loss, infertility, mouth ulcers, loss of appetite, diarrhea, rashes.
Some of the myths associated with a bmt:
MYTH: DONATING A MARROW IS PAINFUL.
FACT: Donors feel little to no pain during the procedure, and usually feel no more than aches or pains like a pulled muscle.
MYTH: A MALE DONOR CAN ONLY DONATE TO A MALE PATIENT.
FACT: A good match is determined more by the specific proteins in a donor’s blood, not by gender.
MYTH: SINCE MOTHERS ARE RELATED SO CLOSELY TO THEIR CHILDREN, THEY WILL BE THE BEST MATCH.
FACT: Most people – 70% of patients – do not have a close enough match in their families. Each person inherits blood markers from both parents, so the closest match within a family would be an identical twin, a brother or a sister from the same parents.
MYTH: GETTING A BMT MEANS YOU WOULD NEED TO STAY IN HOSPITAL FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.
FACT: With today’s technology and advance treatment, some BMT patients can receive the treatment without staying overnight at a hospital. The actual transplant is usually conducted in a hospital, but much of the follow-up care can be done on an outpatient basis.
MYTH: DONATING BONE MARROW IS DANGEROUS AND WEAKENS THE DONOR.
FACT: While no medical procedure is without risk, chances of any long-term effects from donating are extremely rare. And only 5% or less of a donor’s marrow is needed to save a life – the body replaces these cells in 4-6 weeks.