Our team goes to great lengths to help you, your family and your caregivers stay informed and involved in your treatment and recovery.
Though cancer care can be complex, our skilled team makes treatment simple with the region’s only multidisciplinary program for hematologic cancer and disorders. A “multidisciplinary program” means we treat cancer by providing services from different healthcare specialties, such as specially-trained oncology nutritionists and hematology/oncology pharmacists, in addition to your cancer care team.
We want your experience to be as easy as possible, so we go to great lengths to help you and your family and caregivers stay informed and involved in your treatment and recovery.
Our Blood & Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program (BMT&CT) includes these life-saving alternatives:
- Autologous transplants, which uses a patient’s own stem cells; you may hear your care team refer to this as an “auto” transplant.
- Allogeneic transplants, which use healthy stem cells from a matched relative or matched unrelated donor; you may hear your care team refer to this as an “allo” transplant.
The Georgia Cancer Center works with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), who provides excellent patient and family education materials. Please watch this quick video from Be The Match explaining more about your transplant treatment options:
Typical Treatment Plan
Before transplant, the BMT team will need to determine that one is healthy enough for the transplant.
Depending on the type of transplant one is undergoing (Autologous or Allogeneic), stem cells will be collected either from the patient (also referred to as the recipient) or from a matched donor.
In Autologous transplant the stem cells are collected from the patient prior to high dose chemotherapy to destroy rapidly growing cells found in blood cancers, after which the stem cells are infused back into the patient. In Allogeneic transplant the stem cells are collected from a donor (someone else) or from cord blood and transfused to the patient after chemotherapy when a patient is free or near free from disease.
Collecting stem cells from bone marrow by puncturing bone was more common in the past (called a bone marrow transplant), now most of the stem cells are collected from blood (called a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, or PBSCT). These stem cells produce the key components of blood: red cells that carry oxygen, white cells that are part of the body's immune response, and platelets that cause clotting.
This video from Be The Match explains where the cells for a transplant come from:
One may receive chemotherapy or radiation to prepare for the stem cell transplant. This is also called the preparative or conditioning regimen.
Some people may think a stem cell transplant is a surgical procedure, but it is more like a blood infusion. During a transplant, healthy stem cells are given to the patient through a central line (similar to an IV) that is placed in a large vein, usually in the neck or chest. It usually takes a few hours, and patients can read or relax during this procedure.
The treatment plan may include several therapies and support services selected for specific care needs, which will become the multidisciplinary team. Some of these services may include:
- Stem cell transplantation
- Chemotherapy, radiation or drug therapies
- Clinical trials
- Image Boutique, offering supplies to help survivors look and feel their best
- Integrative therapies, including music therapy, chair yoga, and other support programs
- Mental and spiritual health counseling
- Symptom management
The Georgia Cancer Center works with the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), who provides extensive patient and family/caregiver education.
Types of Blood Cancer for BMT&CT
There are three main types of blood cancer:
- Leukemia. This type of blood cancer is caused by the production of abnormal white blood cells, which are not able to fight infection.
- Myeloma. This type of blood cancer affects plasma cells, white blood cells that produce antibodies to fight disease and infection. Myeloma can occur at various sites in the bone marrow.
- Lymphoma. This type of cancer affects the lymphatic system and impairs the immune system.
All three types of blood cancer are further classified and sub-classified. Our treatment team will be able to further explain the types and specific treatment for particular type.
Fighting Blood Cancer Together
The treatment options we recommend will depend on the diagnosis. Visit with one of our oncologists today so we can get you started with the appropriate course of action.
Physician Referrals: 706-721-8065
Patient Scheduling/Appointments: 706-721-6744