Step three: Mobilization therapy

Mobilization is the process used to increase the number of stem cells in the peripheral blood. Two common methods of mobilization are chemotherapy and growth factors, or growth factors alone.

Growth factors (such as Neupogen) are human proteins that the body normally produces to increase blood cell production. As the stem cells in the bone marrow begin producing more blood cells, increased numbers of stem cells are also produced and released into the blood stream. Growth factors are given daily for three to 14 or more days. You may receive it in the clinic or hospital.

The most common side effect of growth factor is mild-to-moderate bone pain or fever, which can often be controlled with Tylenol (acetaminophen). You may also experience a fever when taking growth factors. Always inform your doctor if you have a fever.

If you receive chemotherapy as part of mobilization, you may receive it in the clinic where you received your other chemotherapy treatments or in the hospital. This chemotherapy may be the same as your other chemotherapy treatments or may be stronger. If it is stronger, you may experience different side effects and may have different instructions for taking care of yourself after the chemotherapy. Your doctor and nurse will explain the chemotherapy treatment and how you should care for yourself.

After you have received a certain number of doses of the growth factor or when your white blood cell count reaches a certain level, it will be time to start collecting stem cells from your blood. Your blood counts may be checked every day or two to determine when to start stem cell collection. Your doctor or nurse will let you know when it is time to start the collection. If you do not already have a CVC, one may be inserted now.