Having a stem cell transplant is physically demanding. It is important to make sure that you are fit enough to have the treatment. Your doctors will check your general health and find out if you have any other conditions that could cause complications. They will ask you questions about your health and lifestyle, and give you advice on how best to prepare yourself.
Stem cell transplants may also be emotionally demanding for some people. Some people have complex feelings about it. Having support from family, friends and your healthcare team is helpful.
There may be a counsellor who can help you cope with any worries you have before your treatment. They can also support you during your stay in hospital. You could also use our Online Community to meet people who are going through similar experiences to you.
You will need tests before treatment starts. The tests you have will depend on what type of transplant you are having. Your doctor or specialist nurse will talk to you about the tests you need. They may include:
- blood tests to check your general health, such as how well your kidneys and liver are working, whether you have any infections or viruses (including hepatitis and HIV) or if you are cytomegalovirus (CMV) positive or negative (only for donor transplants)
- chest x-ray to check your lungs and heart
- breathing tests to check how well your lungs work
- kidney tests to see how well your kidneys are working
- heart tests such as an ECG (electrocardiogram) or ECHO (echocardiogram) to check your heart is healthy
- a CT (computerised tomography) scan or bone scan to check for any problems in your bones
- a bone marrow biopsy to check that you are in remission (no active cancer cells)
- swabs and samples to test for infection, for example from your mouth or throat
- a pregnancy test if you are a woman and can still have children.
Some of the tests will depend on the type of cancer or leukaemia you have.