Lymphoma is a type of cancer that grows in your body's lymphocytes, the cells that help your body fight off infection. Over time, this cancer can spread throughout your body. Lymphoma is more likely to be metastatic because you have lymph nodes in many different parts of your body. Lymphocytes are even found within your bones in your marrow. Lymphoma usually needs to be treated very aggressively. Here are a few ways that stem cell treatment can aid you in the fight against lymphoma.
1. Allow doctors to be more aggressive with chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy works by targeting cancer cells and destroying them so that they cannot reproduce and overwhelm your body. Unfortunately, the drugs used in chemotherapy are indiscriminate and harm healthy cells as well. This is particularly damaging for someone with lymphoma since the disease harms your immune system. Stem cell therapy can bolster your immune system, allowing doctors to be more aggressive with chemotherapy. This can lead to better outcomes for patients.
2. Replenish your own natural cells.
One of the ways stem cell therapy works is by allowing your body to regenerate missing cells. Once injected, adult stem cells have the ability to transform into other, more specialized types of cells. That means your body can use them to rebuild your bone marrow and replenish lymphocytes. Stem cell treatment can allow you to live a more normal life, even during the course of chemotherapy.
3. Avoid waiting for a donor.
The waiting lists for donors can be long, and receiving biological material for a donor can be risky. Your body is less likely to accept tissue from a donor, and rejection can lead to harmful side effects. The most common type of stem cell therapy used for lymphoma patients is an autologous stem cell transplant.
According to The American Cancer Society, stem cells are harvested from your bone marrow before your first chemotherapy treatment. You may need to have stem cells extracted more than once to ensure that doctors have a sufficient supply. After your chemotherapy begins, your doctor will administer your stem cell treatment intravenously as the stem cells are suspended in a liquid serum.
If you've been diagnosed with lymphoma, talk to your doctor about stem cell treatment. This treatment has some risks, but it carries even more benefits. Your doctor and cancer treatment team can decide if you are a good candidate for stem cell therapy.