High-dose therapy can cause a variety of side effects as a result of destroying normal cells in addition to cancer cells. Some of these side effects may be apparent during the chemotherapy or immediately afterward, for example, hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Other side effects may not occur until days, weeks, or even months later.
Patients receiving reduced intensity regimens often feel well early in the post transplant process. Side effects are minimal as the doses of chemo/radio therapy are significantly lower than high dose regimens.
Graft versus host disease (GVHD) is a process that occurs in both high dose and reduced intensity allogeneic transplants. GVHD is a process where the donor cells recognize the host cells (the patient) as foreign. GVHD presents post-transplant when the new immune system is gaining strength. The sites most likely to be affected by GVHD prior to D +100 are the gut, skin, and liver. You will receive immunosuppressive medicines to help prevent GVHD. It is very important that you take these as instructed.