A bone marrow or cord blood transplant (also called a BMT) can offer the chance for a cure to some children who have a life-threatening disease. A transplant is a long and intense process that will affect the entire family. Learning what to expect can help you, your child and your family cope with the challenges ahead.
Arming yourself with hope
It can be hard to see your child in the hospital going through treatment, but you may find strength in hope for your child's future. There have been many medical advances in transplant in the last decade. As a result, today more patients can be treated with transplant and more patients have better results from their transplant. Children often tolerate a transplant better and recover more quickly than adults. Children may also be less likely to get certain transplant complications. In general, children have a better chance of long-term survival after transplant than adults.
Transplant success rates
Your child's disease and many other individual factors affect how he or she will respond to transplant. Some people find it helpful to know how others have responded to transplant (survival rates or outcomes data) and some do not. If you want to know about transplant survival rates, you can find data for specific diseases through the links in Learning More about Your Disease.
To understand survival outcomes data, it is important to remember that the numbers cannot predict how your child will do. No two people are exactly alike and people's responses to treatment can vary. Talk with your doctor about your child's situation and the expected benefits and possible risks of transplant for your child.
Your child and family
When a child faces a life-threatening disease, the whole family is involved. Every member of your family can benefit from support and hope for the future. Things to think about include:
You can feel better prepared for your child's transplant when you know what to expect and have plans for managing your household.
Gathering resources and support
Your child's transplant center health care team is trained to work with transplant patients and their families. The team is there to help you. You may also turn to your family and friends, faith or other communities and families of other transplant patients for support.
In addition, Be The Match® Patient Services has a team dedicated to supporting patients, caregivers, family members and friends. We can help you understand your child's disease, treatment options and how a transplant works. Our patient services coordinators offer you confidential one-on-one support and financial guidance. We also offer free educational resources — DVDs, booklets, online tools and more. Contact Be The Match Patient Services.
For resources on this website, see:
K. Scott Baker, M.D., Director, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Survivorship Programs, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.
Nancy J. Bunin, M.D., Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
Eva C. Guinan, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Mary Jo Kupst, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin; Director, Program in Pediatric Psychology, Milwaukee, Wis.