Dr. Finn Petersen, transplant program director at LDS Hospital, said doctors perform 60 to 70 bone marrow transplants annually. The treatment is reserved for those whose chance of survival is less than 50 percent with chemotherapy alone and is done ideally when the patient is in first remission.
At that point, the cure rate is 60 percent to 70 percent, he said. "Without it (transplant), the chance is no greater than 10 (percent) to 20 percent," which was the case with Jolley. "A molecular study showed he had a very bad mutation in the leukemia cells."
Though he struggled as his body tried to reject the new bone marrow, medications have helped his body make the adjustment, and Peterson said Jolley should be able to live medication-free in a couple of years. "His chances of living a normal life span now are 60 (percent) to 70 percent."
The experience has changed Jolley's life and outlook, he said. "It puts your priorities in order and you learn not to sweat the small stuff."
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