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  FAQ's

1.What is bone marrow transplantation?
Bone marrow transplantation involves extracting bone marrow containing normal stem cells from a healthy donor, and transferring it to a recipient whose body cannot produce proper quantities of normal blood cells. The goal of the transplant is to rebuild the recipient's blood cells and immune system and hopefully cure the underlying ailment. 

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2. What is PBSC transplantation?
Peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) obtained from circulating blood can also be used instead of bone marrow cells. The amount of stem cells found in the peripheral blood is much smaller than the amount of stem cells found in the bone marrow. PBSC transplants have shown faster haematopoietic and immune recovery when compared to bone marrow transplants. It also reduces the potential for disease recurrence, primarily graft-versus-host-disease. There exist cases where a recipient cannot accept bone marrow stem cell transplants, but can accept PBSC transplants.

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3. How do bone marrow/PBSC transplants help people with cancer?
Chemotherapy or radiations used to treat certain cancers are high-dose treatments that can destroy or severely damage the patient’s bone marrow, thereby decreasing the number of blood cells available to transport oxygen throughout the body. A bone marrow/PBSC transplant will help patients fight against cancer. After the patient receives a high dosage of chemotherapy or radiation, the patient receives the donor marrow by intravenous (IV) injection, similar to a blood transfusion, following which the new bone marrow starts to produce new blood cells, replacing all cancerous cells.

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4. Why should I become a donor?
In case a patient needs a transplant, there is only 25% chance of finding a match within his family. However, 70% of patients do not find a suitable donor in their family. In such cases there is a need to find an unrelated donor or a cord blood unit through the donor registries. Every donor can help save the life of a patient in need. You can be one too!

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5. What are the eligibility criteria to become a donor?
Any person between the age group of 18 to 60, with no major ailments such as HIV, hepatitis B/C, cardiac illness, diabetes, auto immune disorders, chronic lung disease, obesity, etc can be a donor. On a thorough examination of physical fitness, and the individual’s HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) typing being compatible, one can become a potential donor.

 

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6.What do I have to do to register myself as a donor? 
Having satisfied the basic criteria, you just need to give oral swab samples (No blood needed!!). The samples are then processed and the typings are stored with the registry.

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7. What is buccal swab sample, and how do I collect it?
Buccal swabbing is an effective, quick, and painless DNA sample collection technique that involves rubbing a cotton swab, similar to those used in personal care, against the inside of the cheek. The rubbing motion collects loose cheek cells, and these cells contain enough DNA to be used in DNA tests. Buccal swabbing is painless, noninvasive and easy to do.

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8. If I am found to be a potential marrow donor, what next?
If your bone marrow appears to be a suitable match for someone waiting for a transplant, you’ll be contacted immediately. You'll undergo a brief examination to find if your bone marrow can be transplanted. Your physical fitness is examined to ensure that you are medically eligible to donate. Once you are found to be a potential donor, sufficient information about the process involved is provided, and a simple and harmless procedure is performed.

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9. What is the procedure for donating?
Bone marrow: Once the donor is committed to donate, his/her bone marrow cells are harvested by giving general or regional anesthesia using a surgical process, with no pain during the process. Bone marrow is drawn from the hip bone to either side of the lower back with a special needle and a syringe. The amount of bone marrow drawn is only a small percentage of the total bone marrow and is typically replaced within four weeks. The donor remains at the hospital for 24-48 hours and can resume normal activities within a few days.

Peripheral Blood Stem Cells:
In PBSC transplantation, blood is drawn from a vein from one arm and is passed through a machine that removes the blood-forming cells. Rest of the blood is returned through a vein into the other arm. The procedure to donate PBSC takes approximately 4-6 hours.

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10. Does a marrow transplant hurt?
If you decide to register as a bone marrow donor and a match is found, you will be directed for a transplantation procedure. You won't feel any pain during the surgical removal of your bone marrow cells. The anesthesia will keep you comfortable. Most people go back to their normal activities soon afterward and others take a few weeks. Bone marrow regenerates itself in about four to six weeks, and you’ll have the same amount of bone marrow you started out with in just a short amount of time.

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11. Once registered, can I refuse to become a donor any time?
Being a donor is absolutely voluntary. In case you are found to be a possible match, and pertaining to health or other issues you are unable to become a donor at a later time, you must inform the registry. This will help us to avoid delay and continue our search for another donor.

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