TREATMENT OPTIONS

CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is a general term for drugs that are given to kill the cancer cells.  The drug targets the DNA of the cells so that the defective cells are killed.  Unfortnately often these drugs also kill some of the normal, healthy cells.  The side effects of chemotherapy are very different depending on the type of drug (there are many different types), the health of the patient and the type and severity of the disease the patient has.  Chemotherapy is either given through a needle in the arm (Intravenous - IV) or some drugs that come in tablets or capsules that can be taken at home.  IV chemotherapy is given in a special room at the doctors practice (chemotherapy unit) and the time it takes depends on the drug that is being given.  This is an outpatient procedure.

BIOLOGICAL AND TARGETED DRUGS

These are newer drugs on the market and are not called chemotherapy.  These drugs actually target other parts of the cell (receptors) and kill these defective cells.  There are many different types of drugs in this category.  The benefit of these drugs is that they do not kill the healthy cells as with chemotherapy, which means there are fewer side effects.  These drugs are either given through a needle (Intravenous - IV) or are in tablet or capsule form which can be taken at home. When the patient receives the IV drugs, they will have it done in a special room at the doctors rooms (chemotherapy unit) and it normally takes a few hours, depending on the specific drug.

RADIATION THERAPY

The patient needs to lie in a machine at the doctors rooms which produces x-rays.  These x-rays interfere with theDNA of the cell, thus killing the defective cells.  Sometimes the radiation can affect healthy cells which means there could be certain side effects.  This procedure takes a few hours, and the patient does not need to be admitted to hospital

BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT

AUTOLOGOUS TRANSPLANT (Auto)

This type of transplant means that the patient's own blood is used for the transplant. Before the transplant the doctor inserts a tube into a large vein in the chest of the patient to make it easier to administer drugs and other fluids. The doctor will treat the patient with chemotherapy, radiation, biological or targeted drugs, depending on the type of cancer.  This is done to kill as many of the cancer cells in the blood before the procedure.  These treatments are given at the doctors rooms and the patient does not need to stay in hospital.   This pre-treatment can take a few weeks, depending on the treatment plan that the doctor has decided on. Once this treatment is completed, the doctor will take blood from the patient and it is sent to the laboratory to be tested.  At this stage the patient will be admitted to the hospital for the actual transplant.

The patient will be in a ward on their own (isolation) to reduce the chance of infection, as the immune system will be weak.  The cleaned blood is now introduced back into the body through a bag that is then connected to the tube in the chest.  This procedure takes a few hours.  Once the transufsion is finished, the patient will spend a while in hospital to wait and see if the transplant has taken.  If the cancerous cells have largely disappeared and have been replaced with the clean cells, the patient would be considered to have had a successful transplant. This is what can take time, so that is why the patient needs to stay in the hospital for 1-3 months (dependant on many factors).  

Adult family members will be able to come and visit, but they need to wear masks and gowns so as to not bring any germs into the room.  The side effects of the transfusion depend on many different factors, but the doctor will explain this to the patient before the transplant is done.  Each doctor might have different rules regarding the care of the patient before, during and after the transplant.  If the caregivers are unsure of what they need to do, it is advisable to speak to the nursing staff for further information. 

ALLOGENEIC TRANSPLANT (Allo)

The blood that is given to the patient to replace the defective cancerous cells comes from a donor.  The donor gives blood, and this will be compared to the make-up of the patient's blood and the doctor will look for the best match.  The best donors are close family members (a twin is the best donor), but if the relatives' blood does not match the patient's blood, a donor will be found through the databases in the world. 

Before the transplant the doctor inserts a tube into a large vein in the chest of the patient to make it easier to administer drugs and other fluids. The doctor will treat the patient with chemotherapy, radiation, biological or targeted drugs, depending on the type of cancer. This is done to kill as many of the cancer cells in the blood before the procedure. These treatments are given at the doctors rooms and the patient does not need to stay in hospital. This pre-treatment can take a few weeks, depending on the treatment plan that the doctor has decided on. Once this is completed, the doctor will take blood from the patient and this is then sent to the laboratory to be tested. At this stage the patient will be admitted to the hospital for the actual transplant.

The patient will be in a ward on their own (isolation) to reduce the chance of infection, as the immune system will be weak. The donor blood is now introduced  into the body through a bag that is then connected to the tube in the chest. This procedure takes a few hours. Once the transufsion is finished, the patient will spend a while in hospital to wait and see if the transplant has taken. If the cancerous cells have largely disappeared and have been replaced with the clean cells, the patient would be considered to have had a successful transplant. This is what can take time, so that is why the patient needs to stay in the hospital for 1-3 months (dependant on many factors).

Adult family members will be able to come and visit, but they need to wear masks and gowns so as to not bring any germs into the room. The side effects of the transfusion depend on many different factors, but the doctor will explain this to the patient before the transplant is done. Each doctor might have different rules regarding the care of the patient before, during and after the transplant. If the caregivers are unsure of what they need to do, it is advisable to speak to the nursing staff for further information.

PLATELET TRANSFUSION

This procedure takes place as an outpatient and can take a few hours.  A needle is put in the arm which is connected to a machine.  Donor blood is used which has been treated so that only the platelets remain.  The platelets are then infused into the body through this machine.  There are not many side effects from this procedure.

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did you know?

Its estimated that Haemophilia occurs in 1 in 6000 to 10 000 males internationally. 

Interested in Donating?

All potential donors who would like to assist in any of the following items, need to contact Lotta

c: 073 971 3357
e: lotta@igazi.org.za 

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