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Stem Cell Transplants For Older Patients

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Stem Cell Transplants For Older Patients

I have been writing a lot about stem cell transplants lately, having recently lived through the experience myself.

I hope my older readers haven’t felt left out or disinterested.  Ten years ago, most transplant units excluded anyone over 70 years old.  But recently that number has steadily gone up to 75 or even 80 years old at some locations.

I am constantly reminding older support group members to consider getting their stem cells harvested.  Did any of you happen to catch Gavin McStay’s Myeloma Beacon article last week on the subject:

Stem Cell Transplants May Be Feasible In Elderly Multiple Myeloma Patients

Simply click-on the headline link above to access the article.  It is worth a look.

This point jumped-out at me:

“Patients below or above 75 years of age showed no difference in mortality at day 100 (2 percent compared to 6 percent).”  Overall response also looked similar to those in younger patients.

I’m not pushing the idea of getting a stem cell transplant for anyone.  I fought the idea for a long time myself.  But I always kept the option open, even while I was trying to avoid the procedure.  That’s why I had my cells harvested after my initial induction therapy, back in 2007.

Patients in their late 60’s and early 70’s should consider having their stem cells harvested, before waiting too long, or starting melphalan therapy.

I also understand Medicare is refusing to pay for a harvest only–and to store the cells after they are harvested.  I will write a bit more about his tomorrow, along with a medical update on my condition, one month after coming home.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat