- By Laurel Kelly
Consumer Health: The gift of bone marrow transplantation
In this season of celebrating and gift-giving, you could have the chance to give someone the gift of a second chance at life.
Each year, approximately 18,000 people in the U.S. under 74 are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses for which a bone marrow transplant or an umbilical cord blood transplant are their best treatment options, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration.
A bone marrow transplant, also called a stem cell transplant, is a procedure that infuses healthy, blood-forming stem cells to replace your damaged or diseased bone marrow.
People who need a bone marrow transplant often have blood disorders or diseases that affect bone marrow function, such as leukemia, lymphoma or aplastic anemia. A transplant becomes necessary when their bone marrow cannot make enough healthy blood cells, or when the bone marrow has been invaded by a blood cancer.
You might be considering donating blood or bone marrow because someone in your family needs a stem cell transplant and health care providers think you might be a match for that person. Or perhaps you want to help someone else ― maybe even someone you don't know ― who's awaiting a stem cell transplant.