why do you need a blood transfusion during chemotherapy
When someone is first diagnosed with cancer, the news can be nothing short of terrifying. There are few proven treatments for many forms, and the potential outcome can be disheartening. Blood transfusion often plays an important role among treatment options that give patients a life-saving resource. Blood can help fight the cancer itself and often works to counter the negative side effects of effective treatments. The most common use of blood transfusion in cancer patients is to treat anemia. Anemia is a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the body, and is common for cancer patients to develop. Anemia can be an effect of the cancer itself, or can be caused by different types of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Blood transfusion increases the number of red blood cells in the body, which allows for more oxygen to reach the tissues and organs. Sometimes cancer inhibits the bodyвs production of blood cells. Blood cancers such as leukemia begin in the bone marrow and often crowd-out blood-producing cells, resulting in low blood counts. Other cancers can lower blood counts by affecting organs like the spleen and kidneys, which are both responsible for keeping cells in the blood.
Blood transfusions help replenish the blood cells lost due to different types of cancer, and give those with the disease a chance. Many times it is the effective cancer treatments that set up a need for blood transfusion. There can be blood loss during cancer surgery, which might call for red blood cells and platelets to replenish blood loss and support clotting. One of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is low blood cell counts. Chemotherapy can also affect bone marrow. Patients receiving other cancer treatments, such as radiation and bone marrow transplants can require blood transfusions to help them avoid infections or excessive bleeding due to a lack of platelet production. Blood transfusion is a unique treatment because it is made possible by the kindness of volunteer blood donors. Giving blood is always life-saving, life-changing or life-enriching, especially for those battling cancer. Blood transfusion gives cancer patients hope and a chance to fight back.
Blood transfusions are a simple way of treating anaemia.
When you have a blood transfusion you are given blood from carefully screened donors. The transfusion increases the number of red blood cells in your blood. This means that more oxygen can be carried around the body to your tissues and organs. This will increase your energy levels and reduce your breathlessness. You should notice an improvement in how you feel within 24 hours of having the transfusion. But for some people, the benefits may only be temporary and they may need more transfusions. Before you have a transfusion, your doctor will explain the aims of the treatment to you. They will also give you information to read. You will usually be asked to sign a form saying that you give your permission (consent) for the hospital staff to give the blood transfusion. Medical treatment can only be given with your consent. You may decide not to have a transfusion. Itвs important to tell a doctor or your nurse if you decide not to have treatment, so that they can record your decision in your medical notes. You donвt have to give a reason, but it can be helpful to tell the staff your concerns so they can give you the best advice.
Jehovahвs Witnesses may choose not to have some types of blood products. If this affects you, talk to your doctor about other treatments or ways of managing your anaemia. If you need a blood transfusion, your doctor or nurse will first take a sample of your blood to find your blood group. This is then closely matched to donor blood. This is called cross-matching. The tests used to cross-match are done to: reduce possible side effects. The blood for transfusion is stored in small plastic bags. Each bag is called a unit of blood. You will usually have two to four units of blood, depending on how anaemic you are. Blood is given by a drip (infusion) into one of your veins. A nurse will put a short thin tube (cannula) into a vein in your arm or hand. This is then connected to a drip. If you have a or in place for other treatments, your nurse can connect this to your drip instead. Transfusion of each unit of blood can take up to four hours. If you are having one to two units of blood, you can usually have it at an outpatient clinic. If you need several units, you may need to stay in hospital overnight.
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