Blood Cancer patients who were treated with stem cell transplant are in excellent health after 10 years, indistinguisable from adults of nearby age and same gender who never had blood cancer, according to a new study by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Research Cancer Center. They are “largely indistinguishable” from the general population.
“In many areas of health, our survivors are undistinguishable from case-matched controls who participated in this study and had not had a transplant,” said lead investigator Karen Syrjala, Ph.D., head of the Biobehavorial Sciences group in the Hutchinson Center’s Clinical Research Division.
The study found that transplant survivors and case-matched controls reported similar rates of hospitalization and outpatient medical visits. They had similar rates of diseases and conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis and hypothyroidism, and they had similar psychological health, marital satisfaction and employment.
Survivors were asked to nominate a case-matched control participant, ideally a biological sibling of the same gender and within five years of age.
This was achieved in 60 percent of the controls.
“Ten years after HCT (hematopoietic cell transplantation), the 137 survivors were indistinguishable from case-matched controls in many areas of health and psychosocial functioning, although survivors reported a greater number of medical problems and greater limitations in sexuality, insurance and social, emotional and physical roles,” the authors wrote. “Some of these problems are known to be associated with HCT, while others have not been recognized previously as late concerns.”