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Who Needs a Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant?

Your doctor may recommend a blood and marrow stem cell transplant if you have a disease or condition that prevents your body from making enough healthy blood cells. Examples of such diseases and conditions include:

  • Some cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and breast cancer
  • Severe blood diseases, such as thalassemias, aplastic anemia, and sickle cell anemia
  • Certain immune-deficiency diseases, such as severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, congenital neutropenia (kon-JEN-i-tal NU-tro-PE-ne-ah), and chronic granulomatous (gran-yu-LOM-a-tus) disease

Your primary care doctor and an oncologist or hematologist will determine whether you need a stem cell transplant. An oncologist specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer. A hematologist specializes in diagnosing and treating blood diseases and conditions.

When deciding whether you need a stem cell transplant, your doctors will consider:

  • The type of disease you have and how severe it is
  • Your age and overall health
  • Other possible treatment options

You also will have tests to make sure you're healthy enough to have the procedure. Your doctors will want to find out whether you have any medical problems that could cause complications after the transplant. (See "What To Expect Before a Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant" for more information.)

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October 1, 2009