Your Initial Consultation

Your first appointment will be an in-person or telehealth consultation with a transplant oncologist. At the meeting, this physician will explain your treatment options and help you decide if a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) is right for you. If it is, you’ll discuss your treatment plan, including what you’ll need to do to prepare, and have time to ask questions. 

Brenda Sandmaier

“What I value most about working at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is the collaboration. You have multiple minds and eyes looking out for our patients. The same is true with our research. It’s not just one scientist sitting in a corner having an ‘aha’ moment — it’s a lot of great minds coming together.”

— Brenda M. Sandmaier, MD, medical oncologist

What to Expect

Discussing Whether BMT Is Right for You

Before your consultation, a transplant oncologist will review your medical records and consider many different things when deciding if BMT might be right for you. For example, they’ll assess how likely the transplant is to work, and they’ll consider your overall health and your age.

The physician will then talk to you about your treatment options and the type of transplant that is best for you, including any clinical trials you may be eligible for, and make recommendations for you and your referring physician.

Discuss Your Treatment

During your initial consultation, you will learn about conditioning, which is a therapy that helps prepare your body for the transplant. You will also find out about the blood and marrow transplant infusion itself, the expected results, possible risks, complications and side effects. 

This is a time for you to tell us about yourself and ask questions, too. Each patient, caregiver and family has their own needs, values and preferences. We want to get to know you so we understand the best way to care for you. 

Discuss What's Next

Before the consultation is over, we make sure you know what is going to happen next and how you can reach us if you have questions. 

Find a BMT Clinical Trial

Learn Before Your Initial Consultation

BMT Program

We encourage you to watch the BMT program video before your initial consultation. It will help you better understand the BMT program and learn about some of the resources available to you.

Patient and Family Resource Center

The Patient and Family Resource Center has many excellent resources, such as a health care notary, trusted cancer information, digital library and more. Watch the video to learn more.

Get Ready For Treatment

If you are moving forward with a transplant, you’ll need to take several steps to prepare. Some steps are to get your body ready for your treatment, including collecting healthy stem cells, having a health evaluation and going through conditioning. 

Other steps are about managing your overall care. For instance, if you don’t live in the Seattle area, you’ll need to decide on a place to stay within 30 minutes of the clinic. You will also need to talk to your caregiver about how you’ll get to and from your appointments. 

Below is information that can help you prepare. Keep in mind that we are always here to help you, including our dedicated Patient and Family Resource Center staffed by health educators.

Prepare for an In-Person Visit

If your initial consultation is in person, this information will help you prepare.

Select Your Caregiver

Before you begin treatment, you should choose an adult family member or friend to be your caregiver. Your caregiver should be a responsible person who will:

  • Stay with you throughout your treatment, not just come to your appointments.
  • Provide physical care and offer emotional support. 
  • Help manage your care, like keeping track of your appointments and making sure you take your medications properly. 
  • Monitor your health and understand if you need help.
  • Take classes to learn what BMT is and how best to support you. 

It’s important that your caregiver lives with you throughout the time you are being treated. They also need to stay with you as you adjust to being home. Because this is a full-time commitment, you may need to have more than one caregiver. 

If you have more than one caregiver, be sure your caregivers know each other or have met, and that they will be able to communicate with each other often about your care and needs.

Find a Place to Stay in Seattle

In order for us to monitor you and offer the best care possible, you will need to stay within 30 minutes of the South Lake Union clinic, which is where most of your appointments will happen. 

One of Fred Hutch’s residences, Pete Gross House or South Lake Union House, may be an option. These homes provide extended-stay housing for adult patients and their caregivers and families. There are also other housing options, including hotels, near the clinic. If you are having trouble finding housing, Fred Hutch’s Patient and Family Resource Center specialists can help you.

Learn about Housing Options

Plan Your Transportation

Before starting treatment, you’ll want to plan how you will get to your appointments. Some caregivers drive with patients to appointments, while others use the Fred Hutch shuttle if they are staying near one of the shuttle stops.

The Fred Hutch shuttle is free and available for patients, caregivers and family members. It runs between the South Lake Union clinic and UW Medical Center, as well as South Lake Union House and Pete Gross House. 

View Fred Hutch Shuttle Service

Manage Your Treatment Costs

Before you begin receiving treatment at Fred Hutch, you will want to understand what your costs will be and what your health insurance covers. This process can sometimes be complex, but our experienced Patient Financial Services staff are here to help you. They can also help you find the best ways to manage costs related to housing and other living expenses while you’re being treated.