MEDICINES & HOSPITALS
Cancer treatment can sometimes kill healthy cells in our body, including stem cells.
Blood and bone marrow transplants can help. They work like this: healthy stem cells are taken from the blood or bone, stored for a bit, then put back into the body. This ‘tops up’ the number of healthy stem cells in the blood. It’s pretty amazing!
Stem cells are an important part of our blood and bones. They make new blood and keep us healthy.
Healthy stems can be taken from the person with cancer or from a family member.
After the stem cells are collected, they are frozen in a special medical way until they are needed.
Usually people need to stay in hospital for a while (up to a month) after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
How do they collect stem cells?
There are different ways to collect stem cells if they are required for a transplant. The person with cancer or a family member may have surgery to collect them. Stem cells can also be taken from the blood.
How do the healthy stem cells get back in the body?
The stem cells are taken out of the freezer, warmed up and put back into the body using a line or port. The transplant usually takes about half an hour or so.
Why are they feeling so sick?
After a stem cell transplant, it’s normal for people to feel sick in the tummy and need lots of rest. It can take a few weeks for the new stem cells to start doing their job. Doctors and nurses can help with medicine to reduce the pain and sick feeling during this time.
Why do they have to be in a special room all by themselves?
After a transplant, the body can’t fight infections in the same way for a while, so it’s safer for them to stay in a hospital for a few week. An isolation room only has one bed for one person and it’s super clean. If you have to wait a few days to visit the person you care about you could write them a letter or send an email or a text!
WHAT YOU MIGHT SEE
A hospital bed is specifically designed for patients in hospital or other health care facilities. These beds have special features both for the comfort and well-being of the patient as well as ease of access for the doctors and nurses looking after them. Common features include adjustable height for the entire bed, the head and the feet, adjustable side rails and electronic buttons to operate both the bed and connect other nearby electronic devices.
To keep the operating room germ-free, the people who work there wear special clothes as well as caps over their hair and masks over their mouth and nose to avoid spreading germs. They even wear disposable booties over their shoes! They might all look alike, but everyone in the Operating Room has a different and important job to do as part of the expert treatment team.
A catheter is a flexible tube that can put fluids into your body or take them out.
Blood bags are used for reliable collection, separation, storage and transport of blood. Blood bags are designed to stop blood becoming too thick and ensure the blood and marrow are properly mixed during transfusion.