Multiple Myeloma

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Decision Making–Should I Get a Stem Cell Transplant?

Dr. Nina Shah UCSF Medical Center

The decision to get a stem cell transplant as part of multiple myeloma treatment is one of the areas where some people have a particularly challenging time. In this decision point, specialists collaborating with SurvivorNet say you may well get conflicting opinions on the right course of action. This may be driven by your overall health or how much treatment you want to endure.

What we do know is that people who have a stem cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant) earlier in their treatment course usually stay in remission longer. But other factors are important. According to SurvivorNet advisor Dr. Nina Shah of the University of California at San Francisco, “some patients will say ‘Well, I can’t do this right now. I have this thing going on in my family and I don’t have six to eight weeks to commit to this transplant. But maybe next year I can.’ That’s important.” What matters most is figuring out what works best for you.

Dr. Shah says where you can get a major difference in opinion is a stem cell transplant. She says it can be really hard because one doctor is saying you need a procedure, which will mean six weeks of your life going to the hospital, getting stem cells collected, get a high dose of chemotherapy, and then recover. And another, she says, is telling you that you don’t need any of that.


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Dr. Nina Shah is a hematologist who specializes in the treatment of multiple myeloma, a type of cancer affecting the blood marrow. She treats patients at the Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic. Read More

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