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After your marrow or stem cell harvest

Men and women discussing non Hodgkin's lymphoma

This page tells you about what happens after your stem cell collection for non Hodgkin lymphoma. You can find the following information

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Having high dose chemotherapy

After your stem cell or bone marrow collection you will have high dose chemotherapy to kill any non Hodgkin lymphoma cells that are left in your body. You may have radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy.

You will have your chemotherapy through a central line. This means you don't need to have any injections. You can have other drugs through the tube, for example anti sickness drugs. And you can have blood taken from the central line for blood tests.

You have high dose chemotherapy over about 5 or 6 days. It depends which combination of drugs you have. If you are going to have radiotherapy, you are most likely to have it just before the bone marrow or stem cells are given back to you.

Having your stem cells back

After you have finished all your treatment, you have your stem (or bone marrow) cells back. They are given through a drip. The cells find their own way back into your bones and start to grow again. Soon they will make new blood cells for you.

When you have high dose chemotherapy you are at risk of picking up infections. You may have a single room in the hospital ward, to help protect you from infection. You stay in the single room until your bone marrow has started to make blood cells again and your blood counts have come up. This can take a few weeks. You can have visitors, but your nurses may suggest that you only have one or two each day.
 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the treating NHL section.

 

 

Having high dose chemotherapy

After your stem cell or bone marrow collection you will have high dose chemotherapy to kill any non Hodgkin lymphoma cells that are left in your body. You may have radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy.

You will have your chemotherapy through a central line. This means you don't need to have any injections. You can have other drugs through the tube, for example anti sickness drugs. And you can have blood taken from the line for blood tests.

You have high dose chemotherapy over about 5 or 6 days. It depends which combination of drugs you have.

 

Having radiotherapy

If you are going to have radiotherapy, you are most likely to have it at the end of the treatment, just before the bone marrow or stem cells are given back to you.

Whether you have radiotherapy depends on the particular treatment schedule your doctor has chosen. Radiotherapy before a transplant is called TBI. This stands for total body irradiation. You have your whole body treated to help kill off any remaining cancer cells left behind after your chemotherapy.

 

Having your stem cells back

Picture showing a patient getting their bone marrow back

After you have finished all your treatment, you have your stem cells (or bone marrow) back. The stem cells are given through a drip, just like a blood transfusion (as in the picture above). The stem cells are dripped into your central line and into your bloodstream. The stem cells find their own way back into your bones and start to grow again. Soon they will make new blood cells for you.

 

Being in isolation

Picture of a patient and nurse in an isolation room

When you have high dose chemotherapy, you have low numbers of blood cells. This means you are at risk of picking up infections. You may have a single room in the hospital ward, to help protect you from infection. You stay in the single room until your bone marrow has started to make blood cells again and your blood counts have come up. This can take a few weeks.

Some hospitals don't isolate patients having their own stem cells (autologous transplants) because the risks of infection are lower. If you are having donated marrow or stem cells (allogeneic transplant) you will usually be in isolation in a single room.

While you are in isolation you can have visitors, but your nurses may suggest that you only have one or two each day. Your friends and relatives should not come to see you if they are not well, or think they have been in contact with anyone with an infectious disease.

There is more detailed information about being in isolation and the risk of infection in the side effects page of this section.

 

After your transplant

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Updated: 29 October 2012