Can Cancer Survivors Donate Blood?
Whether a cancer survivor is eligible to donate blood depends on many
factors. Policies can vary from one blood donation center to the next
and from country to country.
The main considerations are as follows:
Beyond the FDA's minimal requirements, each blood donation center sets its own guidelines.
The current Red Cross blood donor eligibility guidelines require that at least five years have passed since the end of treatment without any relapses. Exceptions include leukemia and lymphoma, for which donations are never accepted, and low risk cancers (e.g., squamous or basal cell cancers of the skin), for which a five year waiting period is not required.
(Prior to July 21, 2003, the Red Cross's guidelines prohibited blood donations from any cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy, even if they were more than five years past the end of treatment. Many blood donation centers continue to adhere to the former guidelines. For example, Dana Farber will not accept blood donations from cancer survivors, regardless of the treatment methodology and the number of years since the end of treatment.)
In the UK, blood donations are not accepted from cancer survivors, no matter how many years have passed since the end of treatment.
As an alternative to donating blood yourself, you can always encourage friends and family to donate blood on your behalf. Such appeals are especially effective from current cancer patients. Many of your acquaintances want to do something to help. Even if you aren't going to need blood yourself, their donations will help others.
Copyright © 2005-2009 by Mark Kantrowitz. All rights reserved.
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