Having a stem cell transplant is very physically demanding. It’s important to make sure that you’re fit enough to have the treatment. The doctors need to know whether you have any medical conditions that could cause complications afterwards, so they will ask you some questions about your health before treatment begins.
If you smoke, you’ll be advised to stop, as it increases your risk of complications and long-term side effects. Your GP can give you advice on stopping smoking.
You’ll have a number of tests before the treatment. Your doctor or specialist nurse will explain what they are and why they are needed. They may include:
- blood tests to check your general health and whether you have any infections (including hepatitis B and C, and HIV)
- a chest x-ray to check your lungs and heart
- tests to check how well your lungs work
- tests to check how well your kidneys work
- tests to check that your heart is healthy, such as an ECG (electrocardiogram), an echocardiogram or a MUGA (multiple gated acquisition) scan
- a dental check to make sure you don’t have any problems that might cause an infection
- a computerised tomography (CT) scan
- a bone marrow biopsy or lumbar puncture to check whether there is any disease in the bone marrow or spinal fluid.
The tests you have will depend on the type of cancer or leukaemia you have.