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Teens and young adults need checkups for side effects, even years after leukemia treatment

Blood or marrow transplant cures leukemia but may have late side effects

Age15 - 39 years old
Number of Participants826
Research GoalImprove Quality of LifeImprove Survival
Researchers from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research studied more than 800 people who had BMT for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) during 2000-2014. 

These people were between the ages of 15 and 39 when they got BMT. All had intense preparation for transplant, called myeloablative conditioning. In the 10 years after transplant, some people had late side effects: 
  • 10% (10 in 100 people) had problems with their testes or ovaries, which sometimes may affect fertility 
  • 10% had cataracts, an eye problem that causes blurred vision 
  • 8% had avascular necrosis, a bone or joint problem 
  • 5% had diabetes 
  • 4% had a new cancer, such as skin cancer 
  • 3% had low levels of thyroid hormones 

These problems can be treated. If caught early, some may cause fewer symptoms. It’s important to see a doctor yearly, even long after transplant. 

Keep in mind 

This study only applied to teens and young adults who had intense, myeloablative conditioning. It does not apply to people who had reduced-intensity conditioning. 

Ask your doctor

A separate study showed that survivorship care plans help transplant survivors. NMDP provides free after-transplant guidelines that you can discuss with your primary care doctor, who may not be familiar with late effects of BMT. The guidelines have questions to ask at your yearly checkups.