Thursday, May 7, 2015

Can You Donate Plasma With Cancer?

Q: I have often wanted to contribute to blood banks and drives, but I had breast cancer five years ago. Does being a cancer survivor prevent me from donating plasma?

Why can't someone who had cancer, even once, donate plasma for people battling potentially life-threatening cancer?

Answer: The type of cancer and treatment history will determine your eligibility to donate. 

After five years in cancer patients whose cancer was successfully treated by surgery and which do not affect blood cancer (e.g., breast cancer survivors of brain, liver, stomach, cervix, testis and lung cancer) may re-transfer plasma. This is because some types of cancer and cancer treatment damage blood cells.

Many cancer patients can give plasma after treatment. Once low risks squamous cell carcinoma or primary cells such as cancer of the skin have been completely removed, you do not have to wait for a period of 12 months.

On its list of eligibility requirement
s to donate blood, the American Red Cross says that people who have been diagnosed with cancer or cancer can donate if they have been successfully treated, and at least 12 months have passed with no recurrence of cancer. These questions are asked to ensure that it is medically safe to donate blood and that the person who receives your blood isn't harmed any way.

Some private practice physicians will let autologous plasma donors to donate who otherwise do not qualify for a donation to the general public.

Can I Donate Plasma While in treatment for cancer?

 Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells and keep them from growing. Chemotherapy is another treatment of cancer, which uses the drug to arrest growth of cancer cells by killing or stopping cell division.

Both of these cancer treatments damage to healthy cells of the plasma. The course of cancer treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation or cancer itself can cause temporary postponement.

For example, someone who takes medication for cancer or heart disease will not be accepted as a blood donor. You can donate double red, platelets or plasma cells with automatic donations.

Skin Cancer

You can donate with skin cancer of non-melanoma skin (basal and squamous cell skin cancer), and a tumor that has been eliminated or treatment has been completed more than a week. A person who was properly treated for skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma) and with no recurrence of cancer, can give plasma. The blood component is often necessary in patients with cancer.

For non-melanoma skin cancer or localized cancer that has not spread elsewhere, a person can give blood if the tumor has been removed and the treatment is completed.

Multiple myeloma (Blood Cancer)

 Multiple myeloma (also known as multiple myeloma) is a blood cancer of plasma cells. Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer (10%) after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma 37 is approximately 1% of all tumors and 2% of all cancer deaths.

Since myeloma can have a negative impact on consumers in the plasma donations of cancer cells, people with blood cancer (even effectively treat blood cancer) can not donate.

Blood cancer can affect blood, bone marrow and the lymphatic system. 
Leukemia, lymphoma and cancer of the blood cells are an automatic deferral, but the donation is possible in the case of other types of cancer if a person is in full remission with no other treatment regimen.

Breast cancer

Tamoxifen and other drugs used to treat breast cancer are acceptable provided the donor meets all the other criteria. For example, in the case of breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in bone is in fact breast carcinoma cells.  

Thus, patients with breast cancer can give plasma with the proviso that the cancer has not spread to the liver, kidney, stomach, blood, and bone.

Prostate Cancer

 If you have or had in the past 5 years prostate cancer, we will have to ask you to not give blood plasma. Blood plasma may also be refused from cancer patients who have undergone splenectomy or bone grafts, or who have had cancer in the blood production system (e.g., liver cancer).

If you are at risk, it is important not to give plasma. These antibodies can identify substances in cancer cells or normal substances that may help cancer cells grow.

Can I Spread Cancer by Donating Plasma, even during remission?

The chance of developing cancer from blood donors with cancer is very small, if it exists at all.

The results show that donors whose cancer has not spread and did not require further treatment besides surgery to remove the cancer have little chance of getting the cancer cells into the bloodstream. They found no increased risk of cancer in those who got the blood of those who have been found to cancer shortly after grants.

Other studies have documented a smaller total mortality after diagnosis of blood donors when comparing cancer and the cancer is not a donor population. We also did not find an excess risk when we considered the location and severity of cancer in the donor, or when evaluated site-specific cancer risk from customers.

Additional studies have shown that repeated blood donation was not associated with an increased or decreased risk of cancer overall.

What happens after Donating Plasma

 Donors will be asked to complete a questionnaire, which includes several questions about health and lifestyle in order to determine whether a person is eligible to donate blood based on the requirements. There are also studies done to diagnose any cancer and to find out stage of the cancer may be repeated.

Applications of Plasma

 One whole blood donation can help up to two patients and platelet donation can help 3 patients.Platelets are used to help cancer patients and some patients with blood disorders. Plasma products are used by burns, trauma, and cancer patients.

Platelets assist in blood coagulation and frequently go to cancer patients because, due to chemotherapy, many cancer individuals can not generate a sufficient amount of platelets on their own. The frozen plasma is used to control bleeding and platelet concentrate is used for leukemia and cancer patients and in patients with deficiency of the bone marrow.

How Plasma and Platelet Donations Help Cancer Patients

Plasma is needed in the treatment of burn victims, trauma patients and patients with blood disorders, cancer and liver disease. Cancer patients can require transfusions of platelets or their bone marrow is not producing enough. Cancer treatment often requires red blood cells and platelets.

This type of donation helps many different patients. Some donations are used for transfusion, but because other blood components (red blood cells and platelets) are used more often than plasma, plasma that would otherwise expire is used for medication.

Part of the red cell donation will go to cancer patients undergoing surgery or who become weak and anemic from their cancer treatment program. Part of platelet donation to help cancer patients who have a compromised ability to produce plasma because of their particular cancer or the treatment program. 

For more information about the fight against cancer through Plasma Donations

If a cancer survivor is eligible to donate blood depends on many factors. When it comes to deciding on the best treatment, it all depends on what type of cancer the patient has, and if it is an advanced form and a danger to overall health.


  1. I had given plasma twice a week without any knowledge of having any cancer. In 2014. On my last donation, my blood protein was low 5.6. I went to my primary Dr and was givin a blood test and m protein was detected. I had 1st stage multiple myeloma 15 percent cancer myeloma. It is 2016 , two years later, and my disease is smoldering at the same level. To me this shows that the growth from mgus to active myeloma occured during the time I donated plasma.

  2. Please make sure to check with your locacl plasma donation center prior to donating for their acceptability for medical history of cancer. Each center is different and this article is not the set standard of each.

  3. I was diagnosed with stage 3b colon cancer. I had surgery to remove the tumor and 7 months of chemo. Remission 1 year and 11 months. Would I still be @@ble to donate?

  4. Why is there restrictions on donors who have had a biopsy?

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