Have you ever thought about donating blood, but didn’t know if you could or should? Can you donate blood if you’ve received a blood transfusion yourself…or if you’ve had cancer?
Rules about blood donation eligibility vary from state to state. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility, call the blood donation center ahead and ask if your specific circumstances make you ineligible.
Who is eligible to donate blood?
You are generally eligible to donate if you are:
What health conditions might make you ineligible?
What if I’ve had cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), “While cancer has very rarely been transmitted through transplants of solid organs such as kidneys, cancer transmission by blood transfusion has not been reported in the medical literature.”
Researchers have studied people who received donated blood from donors who went on to develop cancer with five years of their donation. No increased risk to those who received the blood was found. There is some possibility that people with weak immune systems who receive blood that contains cancer cells may not be able to fend off the cancer cells.
The ACS says you cannot donate blood if:
People who had leukemia or lymphoma as children are often allowed to donate after 10 years of being cancer-free.
Blood donation centers may have different requirements where cancer survivors are concerned. Some allow people who have had cancer to donate if it was treated one to five years ago and has not recurred. Some allow those whose cancer has not spread and required no treatment other than surgery to donate because there is little chance that cancer cells made it to the bloodstream.
Donating blood is a very generous thing to do. If you have any questions about your eligibility, it is wise to call ahead.
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