I’m scared of chemotherapy to treat my AML, but a bone marrow transplant sounds easy. Am I right?

By: Dr. Thomas Incledon #

I’m scared of chemotherapy to treat my AML, but a bone marrow transplant sounds easy. Am I right?

Generally speaking, a bone marrow transplant is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon takes marrow from a healthy donor and puts it in the marrow of the host. Recent reports illustrate that bone marrow transplants can increase patients’ survival rates by about 62%, meaning it is a cure for some people.

However, that is not to say bone marrow transplants are easy to undergo and without side effects. “I have witnessed patients who undergo bone marrow transplants and it can be harder on patients than chemotherapy would have been,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, Founder and CEO of Causenta. “Recovery after a bone marrow transplant is hard.” The procedure is also more effective after treatment with chemotherapy has brought the white blood cell count closer to the normal range, which is between 4.0 and 11.0; patients with AML can have levels of 100 or higher.

Blood cancers like AML occur more frequently in children and older adults when damage to the white blood cells is more common based on stage of life – beginning and end. When developing a treatment plan for a specific patient at Causenta, we really examine their blood. One reason this is so important for AML patients is that one-third of people diagnosed have a specific gene mutation known as FLT3. Knowing whether a patient has this mutation is key to finding the right treatment for them because people with this genetic makeup do not respond well to regular AML chemotherapy. They will get minor improvement in the short-term, but not a good long-term prognosis. But, once the mutation is identified, patients can be given an FLT3 inhibitor, which is a type of medication, that is used to turn the gene off and better fight the cancer. Other cases on AML, especially in children, are caused by structural changes in the white blood cells and typically do respond to chemotherapy.

Additionally, looking a patient’s total health is important before deciding on a treatment path. “Killing cancer is important but other things are important as well and you need to address them,” says Incledon. “You don’t want to cause more hurt or pain during treatment.”

At Causenta, we look at a patient’s condition when they arrive at the center. Are they weak? Can they balance themselves? Do they have micronutrient issues that are being exacerbated by the cancer? Especially with people who have AML, by the time they are diagnosed, receiving chemotherapy can be extremely stressful on the body, so we really look at things holistically. We try to get patients as healthy as possible before, during, and after any treatment that will kill the cancer, leading to better long-term results and preventing potential death from AML.  

Our team is not afraid to try new strategies for patients that we think will work based on what we know about their disease, body, and continuous evaluation. “Sometimes with failure and careful observation, we can get better results over time,” says Incledon. “Our patients trust us and give us freedom to try and fail so we can get to where we want to go. Even with positive results, single solutions won’t work forever. We work and work to help get people where they want to be.”

For more information about AML (acute myeloid leukemia) and treatment options at Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.  

About the Author

At Causenta, we recognize that no two patients are alike. Our approach is unique in that we specialize treatment for each patient based on extensive testing. For over 17 years, our team of experienced and highly trained doctors have combined traditional medicine and alternative therapies to provide the highest quality care. Here you’ll find the latest technologies and a state-of-the-art facility combined with treatment protocols not found anywhere else in the world. Causenta is dedicated to strengthening both body and mind while focusing on personalized medicine to provide patients the right treatment for even the rarest conditions.

Whether you are fighting to win a gold metal in the Olympics or fighting for your life to beat cancer, Causenta is the right place for you.

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