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Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Frequently Asked Questions
2. How can I decide if a transplant is right for me or my child?
Becoming informed about treatment options is the first step in making a decision about whether or not to proceed with a transplant. This means speaking to your physicians about treatment options, getting second opinions, discussing the risks and benefits of each option, and understanding the quality of life issues associated with each treatment plan. It is important to weigh all treatment options in order to determine what treatment is best for you or your child. Some diseases may warrant a more urgent consultation with a transplant specialist while others may not. If your physician suggests a transplant consultation, the transplant physician and the oncologist can work together to coordinate a treatment plan that is best for you or your child.
Often patients considering a transplant get second opinions from a number of specialists, including other transplant specialists. A second opinion provides additional information and can confirm a treatment recommendation, or it can bring to light information which may result in changes to the proposed treatment plan. It is important that the transplant physician receive the complete disease and treatment history, as well as any other information about health issues, before your appointment so that he/she will have enough time to go over your health information.
Effective communication requires effort on your part. Come to appointments prepared with questions you would like to ask. Giving accurate and complete health information to your doctors will help them better assess your situation and provide you with the information you need to decide on the right treatment for you. The risks and benefits of a transplant vary significantly from person to person, depending on the type of disease, health history, and current health. Therefore, it is important to communicate effectively with all of your physicians. Be sure to explain any difficulties or complications you or your child has experienced with prior treatments. Bring a list of all current medications, including the doses, frequency, and the reason for taking them.
It is a good idea to bring along a second person that you trust and have him/her take notes for you to help you remember what was said during the visit. Get to know who else, besides your doctor, works in the clinic. In some cases, having your questions answered may mean approaching other individuals who work in the medical office, such as a social worker, nurse, clinic manager, or finance person.
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