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Chronic health conditions common for stem cell transplant survivors
Date:8/18/2010

(WASHINGTON, August 18, 2010) Although hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) cures many blood diseases, two-thirds of long-term survivors report at least one chronic health condition after the procedure, according to a recent study published online in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology. Overall, these patients were three and a half times more likely to develop a severe or life-threatening health condition, such as cardiovascular, endocrine, or musculoskeletal problems, as well as new cancers, when compared with their cancer-free siblings.

"Although hematopoietic cell transplants have helped thousands of patients survive cancer, the burden of chronic illnesses borne by these survivors is substantial," said senior study author Smita Bhatia, MD, MPH, professor and Ruth Ziegler Chair in Population Sciences at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, CA. "We hope the results of this study build awareness of the problem to help ensure a continued high quality of life among transplant survivors through life-long follow-up and proactive care."

It is estimated that more than 45,000 patients undergo HCTs each year to combat life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and aplastic anemia. The procedure restores blood-forming cells in the patient's bone marrow that have been destroyed by anti-cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. Although previous studies have shown that more than 70 percent of those who survive the first two years after HCT are expected to become long-term survivors, the elimination of the cancer has not always led to a full restoration of health. The high-intensity chemo- and radiotherapies needed prior to transplantation can damage many organs and have a negative impact on the overall health of HCT survivors.

The researchers for this study examined the prevalence and severi
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Contact: Lindsey Love
webmaster@hematology.org
202-552-4925
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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