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Myeloma Stem Cell Transplant-Testosterone

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The Term “Side Effects” Doesn’t Do Justice to the Physical Damage Done By An Autologous Stem Cell Transplant for Multiple Myeloma

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, in early 1994. I underwent an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) as therapy for in December of 1995. I knew that there would be side effects-  hair loss (alopecia), nausea, etc, you know, the usual side effects. It didn’t occur to me that my body’s chemistry would be changed forever. Multiple myeloma stem cell transplant lowers the body’s testosterone.


I’ve been coaching myeloma patients for years. I have learned that most MM patients need toxic chemotherapy or radiation from time to time to manage their incurable bone cancer. But I have also learned that too much toxicity can be very damaging to the human body.

I have also learned that there are a host of evidence-based, non-toxic therapies that are cytotoxic to multiple myeloma.

An autologous stem cell transplant is aggressive, high dose chemotherapy. An ASCT does NOT increase overall MM patient survival. An ASCT increases PFS (progression-free survival). Please confirm this important distinction with your oncologist.

My belief is that newly diagnosed MM patients can choose many different therapy options. It is essential however, that MM patients understand the risk of short, long-term and last stage side effects.

Scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.


David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

How Low Testosterone Affects Your Health

Dropping levels of this male hormone can cause more than sexual problems. It can also affect your mood, weight, and concentration.

“In some labs, the normal levels (determined by a simple blood test) of a man’s testosterone will measure 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. However, it’s important to confirm low levels of testosterone since many men will have normal levels on repeated testing due to fluctuations of the hormone.”

Endocrine disorders during the first year after autologous stem-cell transplant.

“Three months after the transplant:

  • insulin-like growth factor-1 values were below the normal range in 53 patients (56%);
  • 37 of 40 women (93%) of reproductive age experienced precocious ovarian failure;
  • 39 of 46 men (85%) showed high follicular stimulating hormone,
  • 17 men (37%) showed low testosterone levels.
  • Adrenal insufficiency occurred in 28 patients (30%) during the peritransplant period after corticosteroid withdrawal.
  • Transient subclinical hyperthyroidism was found in 15 patients (16%).
  • Transient “low T(3)” syndrome was revealed in 29 patients (31%).
  • Twelve months after the transplant, insulin-like growth factor-1 values were still low in 36 patients (38%).
  • Menstrual cycles resumed in four women;
  • follicular stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and estradiol levels improved in 10 patients. Testosterone was low in only two men (4%).
  • Seminal analysis revealed azoospermia in 32 (91%) of 35 men examined.
  • Subclinical hypothyroidism was found in 11 patients (12%); eight of them had previously received radiotherapy for the upper half of the body…”

Leave a Comment:

Multiple Myeloma Side Effects - PeopleBeatingCancer says a few months ago

[…] Hypogonadism- low testosterone  […]

George Koloroutis says 8 months ago

I had prostate cancer the year before last and opted to get radiation treatment and prior to that had hormone treatment (Lupron) administered. The combination of those steps lowered my PSA to almost zero reducing my prostate cancer existence. Unfortunately, I also have MGUS which I get checked every 6 months. It is advancing slowly. I am 62 and really want to do whatever I can to slow its advancement. I have heard that getting testosterone treatments could be helpful in slowing the advancement of my MGUS. But I have also read it could bring my prostate cancer back. A bit of a conundrum. Obviously, I need the testosterone for MANY reasons. Any thoughts or wisdom for me????

    David Emerson says 8 months ago

    Hi George-

    I replied to you via email. I encourage you to undergo MGUS therapies that will also help to manage your PCa.

    Good luck,

    David Emerson

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