Your First Visit
During your initial consultation about the Fox Chase-Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, you will meet with several members of our bone marrow transplant team, including one of our board-certified oncologists, as well as a financial coordinator and a registered nurse who will be your transplant coordinator.
Our oncologist will take a history of your disease, review your medical records from your primary care physician or referring oncologist, talk with you about treatment options, and make recommendations for your treatment. Some of the questions you have been asked before may be asked again in order to ensure your evaluation is completely accurate. Areas requiring special attention include your general state of health; past blood transfusions; exposure to radiation; past and present infections; and episodes of bleeding.
The medical assistant or registered nurse will draw your blood to determine your current state of health.
Our financial coordinator will discuss treatment costs, your insurance coverage, and ways to pay for your transplant.
Our transplant coordinator, a registered nurse specially trained in the care of bone marrow transplant patients, will answer your questions and provide you with specifics about the Fox Chase-Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program.
Please be aware that undergoing a bone marrow transplant is a significant event and marks the beginning of a long, challenging journey. If our team determines you are eligible for a transplant, both you and your physician must decide if this is right for you. The Fox Chase-Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program offers comprehensive, compassionate support throughout every phase of the transplant process.
After your first visit and prior to any therapy, you must sign a written informed consent and attend an educational session with one of our bone marrow transplant oncologists.
At this time, you will undergo various testing, including infectious disease blood tests; complete pulmonary function tests; a cardiac scan for left and right ventricular ejection fraction; liver and renal function blood tests; and confirmatory HLA tissue typing and blood typing. Imaging studies and bone marrow tests are completed as indicated.
Our team also identifies a donor who is either a relative or from the National Marrow Donor Program or cord blood registries. The donor’s stem cells are harvested using bone marrow or peripheral blood.
Just before transplant, you will be admitted to the Fox Chase–Temple Bone Marrow Transplant clinic to receive a preparatory regimen, or conditioning regimen, to kill cancer cells in your body and suppress your immune system. Conditioning may include high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation.
On the day of transplant, referred to as day 0, stem cells that have been previously collected from your donor are given to you. This process is similar to a blood transfusion.
During the weeks after transplant, your body is unable to produce white blood cells, thus increasing your risk of infection. Depending on your transplant type, it may take weeks for your new stem cells to begin producing enough blood cells to protect your body from infection.
Patients are maintained in protective isolation in the BMT Inpatient Unit. To prevent infection, you are given several medications and are closely monitored while in protective isolation in our clinic.
Depending on your progress and type of transplant, our team determines when you are ready to go home. It is important to note that every patient recovers at his/her own pace. In the months following transplant, we carefully track your health and recovery and work closely with you as you return to wellness. Long-term follow-up care for bone marrow transplant patients typically includes regular annual visits.
Undergoing a bone marrow transplant is a difficult experience not only for you as the patient, but also for your caregivers and family. The Fox Chase-Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program offers support services to help you deal with the emotional, physical and social challenges that often accompany transplantation. You have access to:
- A complete set of consulting physicians for internal medicine and surgical issues, as well as the close support of a medical intensive care unit, when necessary
- Interventional radiologists who assist with placement of indwelling catheters
- Licensed social workers who work closely with patients, caregivers and family during and after the transplant process
- Regular support and educational group meetings
- A board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in psychopharmacology
- A certified nutritionist to help with dietary issues
- Palliative care, which focuses on improving the quality of life for patients and their families through the management of symptoms, pain and stress brought on by a serious illness
- Integrative care, which explores a body/mind/spirit approach to healing
The Fox Chase-Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program is fully accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and a participating provider in the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP).
Temple University Hospital earned the status of a “Blue Distinction Center for Transplants” by Blue Cross Blue Shield, in recognition of the Fox Chase-Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program’s expertise in performing adult bone marrow transplants.