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This may be a dumb question...

Posts: 197
Joined: Nov 2012

This may be a weird question.  I am going to celebrate my one year of finishing my cancer chemo treatments at the end of this month.  I am so thankful to have gotten through it.

My question is...will I ever be able to donate blood?  I really want to help other people since I had so many people help me.  Whenever I see someone with cancer or I hear about someone struggling, I want to help if I can.

I had a lot of problems with my blood cells while I was having chemo.  My CEA kept going up from the first chemo treatment until the last one.  The count was the highest it ever was when I finished my last treatment.  The Oncologist told me I had "immature" bone marrow cells.  The bone marrow was producing "baby" cells so I wasn't responding well to the treatments.  The Oncologist told me I would have to wait three months to see if my CEA went down and if it didn't, there was going to be a good chance that I would need a bone marrow transplant to get my bone marrow cells replaced with healthy "adult" cells which would enable me to fight the cancer.  I waited three months and the CEA dropped down to normal.  There may be a time I will need a bone marrow transplant and the thought at the time terrified me.  I didn't have any siblings able to donate since my brother has diabetes.  My parents were too old.   I was glued to the TV every time Robin Roberts appeared to check in on her while she was struggling through her bone marrow transplant.  I cried every time I watched it.

So now, it has almost been a year.  I'm wondering if I can EVER donete blood or bone marrow even after I make it past the five year mark. Can people who have had cancer ever donate blood?  I have a feeling I will never be able to donate bone marrow since I have defective marrow cells (and by the way, I had a second opinion when I thought I needed a bone marrow transplant and the second doctor called my marrow cells "immature" too).  Even if I can't donate bone marrow to someone who needs it, will I ever be able to donate blood since I had cancer?

Input would be appreciated.  Has anyone donated blood after they were officially deemed cancer free (five year mark)?  I have a ways to go before I reach that mark but I was just wondering.



John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007



You would have to ask where you donate blood. Asking questions on any forum will only net you unofficial opinions.....

If it were me, I would donate my time instead of blood. I have met so many patients during my hospital stays, that had no-one to watch over them. Hours would pass without a nurse responding to a call for water, or to check on an alarm chirping away (BTDT).

Most hospitals welcome volunteers to bring magazines, or water to patients, or to carry out other tasks that can help in the care for patients.

Blood and body parts aren’t the only thing hospital patients need!

Best wishes for your better health,



ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

    In Australia after six years cancer free I was allowed to and in fact did donate blood. Some years later due to auto immune problems and the drugs I had to take ,they no longer took my blood...Ron.

Posts: 158
Joined: Jan 2012

I have a co-worker who is a cancer survivor and she donates blood. I know you have to wait a set amount of time but I don't know the exact time. Check with your local Red Cross. 

serenity101's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: May 2013

From the American Red Cross blood donating web page: "Eligibility depends on the type of cancer and treatment history. If you had leukemia or lymphoma, including Hodgkin’s Disease and other cancers of the blood, you are not eligible to donate. Other types of cancer are acceptable if the cancer has been treated successfully and it has been more than 12 months since treatment was completed and there has been no cancer recurrence in this time. Lower risk in-situ cancers including squamous or basal cell cancers of the skin that have been completely removed do not require a 12 month waiting period."

Posts: 197
Joined: Nov 2012

Thank you all for your information and feedback.  Volunteering is a good idea but don't know if I will have enough time for some of it.  Still...it is a good idea.  I'll check with the Red Cross about the blood donation.  It is nice to know that some of you have been able to donate after a certain amount of time. Thanks!



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