Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Stem cell transplantation for Hodgkin's lymphoma

Some people with Hodgkin lymphoma receive a stem cell transplant. A transplant of blood-forming stem cells allows you to be treated with high doses of chemotherapy. The high doses destroy both lymphoma cells and healthy blood cells in the bone marrow.

Stem cell transplants take place in the hospital. You may need to stay in the hospital for several weeks. After you receive high-dose chemotherapy to kill lymphoma cells, you'll receive healthy stem cells through a flexible tube placed in a large vein in your neck or chest area. New, healthy blood cells will develop from the transplanted stem cells. The healthy blood cells will replace the abnormal ones that were destroyed by treatment.

Healthy stem cells may come from you, or they may come from a family member or another donor. If the healthy stem cells will come from you, then stem cells will be removed from your body before you receive high-dose chemotherapy. The stem cells may be treated to kill any lymphoma cells that may be present, and the healthy stem cells are then frozen and stored until the stem cell transplant takes place.

You may want to read the NCI fact sheet Bone Marrow Transplantation and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. It tells about the types of transplants and their side effects.

Questions you may want to ask your doctor about stem cell transplants

  • How long will I be in the hospital? Will I need special care? How will I be protected from germs?
  • What care will I need when I leave the hospital?
  • What are the risks and side effects? What can we do about them?
  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • What is my chance of a full recovery? How long will that take?

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