February 4 is World Cancer Day, a day that touches many of us who have either had the disease or know someone who has fought the tough battle against it. Almost two million new cases may occur this year, according to experts, and blood products will be important for many of these patients in their fight against cancer.
Blood is so important during their treatment that patients fighting cancer use nearly one quarter of the nation’s blood supply — more than patients fighting any other disease. The American Red Cross asks you to schedule a time to donate blood now to help cancer patients and so many others.
CANCER PATIENTS NEED BLOOD — THE FACTS
- One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.
- Many of these patients, especially those undergoing chemotherapy, will likely have a need for blood products.
- In fact, about six blood products are needed every minute to help someone going through cancer treatment.
- Low blood count is a major side effect of cancer treatment. Some types of chemotherapy can damage bone marrow, reducing red blood cell and platelet production and putting a person at risk for life-threatening infections or bleeding.
- The cancer itself can cause the need for blood and platelet transfusions by causing internal bleeding or preventing the patient’s body from producing blood cells.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The country is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. During this national blood crisis, doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments.
While there has been a significant response to the call for eligible people to give blood, the Red Cross needs more donors to give in the weeks ahead to help the nation’s blood supply stabilize. All types are needed now, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations.
Those interested in helping are urged to schedule the earliest-available blood or platelet donation appointment in their area so those being treated for cancer and others who count on blood product transfusions can receive lifesaving care without delay.
Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
ABOUT BLOOD DONATION A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
COVID-19 Safety Protocols
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are still eligible to donate blood and platelets. Knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they receive is important in determining blood donation eligibility.