According to Cancer Therapy Advisor, "Infection is a known risk for early death among patients with myeloma." Especially after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, your immune system is weak and highly prone to infections. While your white blood cell count may be considered "normal", during this time your immune system is recovering and needs to be protected.
Researchers from the American Journal of Hematology studied 613 patients who recently received a transplant. Of the 613 patients, 59 died within 2 years of diagnosis (and 13 within 100 days).
"At the time of death, 83.1% of deceased patients had progressive disease. Infection was the leading cause of death in all deceased patients (44.1%), though an infection was present at the time of death in 59.3% patients, regardless of immediate cause.
Among the 10 patients who died within 2 years of diagnosis without disease progression, half the deaths were due to infection.
Nearly half of the infections were pneumonia." Cancer Therapy Advisor
Doctors recommend key steps to prevent infection. Here are a few common tips:
It is also recommended that family members and members of your household be vaccinated to minimize exposure to diseases.
The sooner an infection is detected the better. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is recommended you notify the bone marrow transplant team, or your doctor:
Overall, we can't protect ourselves from every potential danger, but myeloma patients should be vigilant and take necessary precautions to prevent harmful effects. If an infection is prevented, or caught early on, it could possibly save a patient's life.
about the author
MyelomaCrowd Editorial Contributor. Daughter to a parent with cancer.