Cancer is one of the fatal ailments that claim millions of lives across the globe. Over the years, cure and treatments for specific types of cancer have been discovered and studies are still going on to find a cure for more. A lot of people, especially women, succumbs to the grip of breast cancer every year. There are numerous treatment options to treat those afflicted with breast cancer. However, the combinations of high dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant seem to work better than other methods for Breast cancer cure. While it is not exactly a magic bullet solution for those afflicted with breast cancer, the method has been found to be effective in enhancing lifespan and preventing recurrence of the fatal disease in the affected lot. However, the rate of success may vary from one individual to another and a lot depends on important factors like medical history, age, the overall health condition of the person etc.
Every year, thousands of women and men get affected by various forms of cancer. Some of them succumb to the disease while others manage to battle with it by various means. With developments in medical science, new treatment and surgical solutions for diverse types of cancer are emerging. Not all forms of cancer are curable and treatment also depends on the stage at which the disease is diagnosed in a person. In some cases, treatment may lead to cure while in some other instances, its primary purpose is extending the lifespan of an affected person. In any case, extensive medical tests and observation are required before a suitable treatment option can be chosen. The same is applicable for Breast cancer cure treatments.
Bone Marrow Transplantation for Breast Cancer Cure
To treat and cure certain forms of cancer, such as leukemia and breast cancer, bone marrow transplant is used. For patients affected by breast cancer, the aim of such transplant is enabling them to cope up with the impact of high dose chemotherapy. The latter destroys cancerous cells and also damages regular blood cells.
Stage IV breast cancer was earlier thought to be incurable. It was only in the mid and late 1980s, patients were given low-dose chemotherapy survived for several months and a few of them sustained for 5 years or so. In 1988, results of a clinical trial carried out on 22 women suffering from stage IV breast cancer were published. It was seen 14% of them who were given high-dose chemotherapy survived for 5 years without cancer recurring. They went on to live for 5 more years. Since then, more women have been administered this treatment with encouraging rates of success and reduced mortality rate. High-dose chemotherapy, as well as Autologous Stem Cell Transplants for stage IV breast cancer is thought to be safer than other options. However, this does not ascertain complete cure for breast cancer and individual cases may vary.
Nuances of Bone Marrow Transplantation
Bone marrow is basically a type of spongy tissue that exists in bone. The bone marrow found in the body’s spine and parts like breastbone, hips, skull and ribs have stem cells. The stem cells are pivotal in generating blood cells in the human body. Three variants of blood cells- red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets – are generated in bone marrow.
Not every person afflicted with breast cancer is suitable for Stem Cell Transplant for Breast cancer cure. The doctors evaluate important parameters like age of the person, the stage of cancer and any existing ailment etc. It is important that the patient understands the potential benefits of the treatment and risks that may crop up. Of course, the person has to undergo all necessary Tests for Breast Cancer.
The Bone marrow used during a transplant for Breast cancer cure may be derived from a donor or the body of the affected person. However, the bone marrow of the donor should match that of the recipient. This matching procedure is known as human leukocyte antigen testing and a number of blood tests are carried out for this.
The process of Bone Marrow Transplant
After the doctors become sure that performing bone marrow transplant would be suitable for a victim of breast cancer, the procedure begins. Initially, various tests are carried out before the actual transplant process is done. The tests also help the medical team figure out any problem in the patient’s body. Test on major body organs like kidney, lungs and heart are performed. The doctor may also opt for a CAT scan, as well as Bone Marrow Biopsy. Even dental tests are done to find any risk of infection.
Central Venous Catheter Placement
Before bone marrow transplant is done for Breast cancer cure, doctors insert a central venous catheter in your chest through a vein. This is basically a flexible, slim and a hollow tube to enable a smooth flow of fluids, drugs and other things into the bloodstream. When this is used, the need to deploy a needle repeatedly is not there. It is also handy for collecting the blood sample.
Some specific hormone-like drugs are also given to stimulate white blood cells in the recipient’s body. This helps the white blood cells in the body recover faster from an impact of chemotherapy and combat risk of infection.
Bone Marrow Harvesting
Bone marrow is collected through a needle that is inserted into the hip bone. During this stage, the patient is administered general anesthesia.
Deployment of Chemotherapy/Radiation Therapy
Next, elevated doses of chemotherapy are given to the person or doctors opt for radiation therapy. This essentially eliminates abnormal stem cells along with blood cells. Your regular bone marrow is eliminated. Then the blood counts diminish to low levels.
At this stage, IV fluids are given to flush out the kidneys and reduce damage. Nausea control drugs are also administered at this time. Chemotherapy sometimes leads to vomiting. After this, the doctors tend to keep the patient isolated in a medical facility since the health state is fragile. This is necessary until the new bone marrow develops in a body.
When you receive a bone marrow transplant for breast cancer cure, it is usually infused using an intravenous tube into the veins. The bone marrow appears like thickened dark blood. It slowly moves to large bone cavities in the body like a skull, the spine and hips, etc. After some weeks, the process of generating normal blood cells begins with the body.
Things that Should be Considered
Before you opt for Autologous Stem Cell Transplants to recover from breast cancer, a few things have to be considered.
You have to find out if your health insurance provider covers Bone Marrow Transplant process. Based on the insurance terms and location and factors like your age, health and past medical record, you may or may not get full coverage from the insurance company for Breast Neoplasms. Whenever you come to know undergoing the procedure will be necessary for Breast cancer cure, get in touch with your insurer to be on safer side. Your physician overseeing the case should be able to guide you on this.
Medically Reviewed By
Maanasi specializes in health topics including diet and nutrition. A mother of an untiring seven year old, she enjoys nurturing her love affair with English. She is often found nestled with a book, plopped against a dozen pillows, smiling away at the brink of finishing yet another book of the many dozens, that adorn the shelves of her Mini Library!