Often, we can feel helpless when we find out a loved one or friend has been diagnosed with cancer. Donating blood or platelets is one way that you can offer life-sustaining help to people battling cancer.
Cancer and its treatment options can damage blood cells and many cancer patients rely on blood and platelet transfusions to help them through treatment.
In 2019, it’s estimated that over 268,000 women will receive an invasive breast cancer diagnosis.
Drugs taken during chemotherapy can cause a drop in white blood cells and platelets. This puts patients at risk for both infections and bleeding.
Radiation treatment affects the bone and leads to low blood cell counts
Patients who have surgery to remove cancer often need blood during the operation.
Bone Marrow Transplants
Transplant patients may undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy and need blood donations to recover.
Some cancers can cause internal bleeding which lowers red blood cell counts and causes anemia.
“Blood helps patients heal and recover. Some patients couldn’t withstand chemotherapy treatment or get through radiation without it.”
Dr. Kaaron Benson
Whole blood donation – Whole blood donations are separated into red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Each of these parts help cancer patients through treatment.
Platelet donation – Platelet cells bind together to help repair damaged blood vessels and stop bleeding. People with A+, B+, AB- AB+ and O+ blood types are great candidates to give platelets. About 38% of platelet donations are used for cancer patients.
Double red cell donation – Cancer patients going through treatment often need red blood cells to combat anemia. People with O-, O+, A-, A+ and B- blood types should consider giving a double red cell donation. To give a double donation, men must weigh 130 pounds and be 5’1 and women must weigh 150 pounds and be 5’5 or taller.