In response to your query about stem cell transplant I have a little information, mainly because my oncologist wrote a piece in a UK magazine circulated to ovca patients and carers recently. I can't lay my hand on it at the moment (why can you never find things when you want them?!). I'm definitely not a medic or health professional but this is my understanding of it. I also know a guy locally who has had it for lymphoma at the same hospital I go to - it seems to be being used quite a lot in that speciality with some success.
Essentially the patient is given very high doses of chemotherapy - much higher than normal. This kills off all the white blood cells not just some as normal (think that's right?). At the same time healthy stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow. When the patient is down and out the stem cells are returned to the body where they produce healthy cells to fight the cancer. It is very very gruelling and dangerous of course. I think people have to be in hospital for quite a time and isolated of course as they are completely open to infection. He was saying there have been quite a number of attempts to run clinical trials around the world but the majority have run into difficulties - women are not enthusiastic about taking part (as you can imagine). Although he could see potential benefits for patients, he felt too few patients have gone through trials and comparisons made with current treatments. I believe MD Anderson in Texas do it quite a lot but I don't know about other hospitals. Hope this is of some help and fairly accurate (!).
Your right on your answer, I have an appt with the Dr. who is doing the trial tommorow. I will gather the info but not very keen on taking the treatment. I have nothing to lose by going and finding out what it can do? Thanks for your Help....
Yes, your right, I was suggested the stem cell, I believe because it is a trial. I am not keen on this, just going to hear what they have to say. At this time, I am still going for chemo not finished yet, two to go, and my CA125 is now 9.5. I don't think I would even want stem cell as a last resort. Thanks for the tip.
A friend of my parents had that procedure for a bone (or was it the marrow) cancer. It was the treatment of choice. He did well with it. He is in his later 50's. Of course it was difficult to go through (fatigue, time in the hospital, normal fears), but it's not like stem cell replacement for other cancers with the permanent immune suppression drugs and it didn't sound terrible (which is what I had expected). I spoke with him sometime in the months afterwards.
Just to follow up. An important bit I left out was that the very heavy dose chemo kills off more cancer cells than normal chemo can so you are starting with more of a blank sheet for the renewed white blood cells to attack any new cancer cells which arise afterwards.
Is this your first course of chemo? If so, you still have other options if you relapse afterwards - hopefully not of course. I agree with ravenlady on that. I'm on my second course of chemo even tho' I had good responses to the first chemo - just the luck of the draw I guess. I'm not sure I'd go for stem cell unless I had run out of other options - problem with that is one might not be in such a good shape. Your doc needs to tell you frankly exactly what their results have been to date. Don't forget they need to fill their quotas for trials! best wishes barney
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