Are Transplants on the Decline?

Not long ago, the Bone Marrow, then the Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) transplant were the key to achieving remissions when more traditional chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy had failed. Transplants are still an important option, the "big wrench" in the doctors toolbox. But using that tool carries risk. Up to 5% of patients die of the procedure due to complications. And there are after-effects like Host vs. Graft Disease which may require treatment.

Fortunately in the last few years, the monoclonal antibody drugs have surfaced as yet another option if remission isn't achieved. The risks are very low compared to transplants. Hopefully even more treatments will come out of research.

It makes me wonder if the number of transplants will decrease as we get more remissions from new treatments. 5% may seem low, but even in my treatment plan I had 2 second opinions to see if rolling those dice was the best option. As all our situations are different, it is always best to ask your medical team, maybe get a second or third opinion on the really big decisions. No good doctor will get upset if you ask for another opinion, as it is common in medical circles and it is your right to do so.

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