SCT stands for Stem Cell Transplant, which is what I will be getting in a few days. Stem cell transplants are done to treat blood diseases affecting the marrow such as lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. When the cells come from the patient it’s called an autologous transplant; when they come from a donor it’s called an allogeneic transplant.
My staging and testing begins on Tuesday at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. The whole process involves a dozen steps:
- Initial evaluation
- Induction chemotherapy
- Pre-mobilization evaluation
- Central venous catheter placement (done)
- Stem cell collection
- Pre-transplant evaluation
- Preparative regimen
- Stem cell transplant
The hardest part will be the high dose chemotherapy involved in what is euphemistically called the “preparative regimen.”
The chemotherapy is called “high-dose” because the doses received are from 5 to 10 times higher than the doses given during traditional chemotherapy. Such high doses of chemotherapy destroy cancer cells but also destroy other healthy cells in the body, which divide and reproduce rapidly, such as the cells that line the mouth, stomach, intestine and the bone marrow… High-dose chemotherapy is the treatment used to destroy cancerous cells, while peripheral stem cell transplantation is necessary to “rescue” damaged bone marrow.
I can hardly wait!