Cancer is a disease of the cells which are the basic building blocks. Cancerous cells are abnormal cells that multiply at a rapid rate and leads to several types of problems in the body. These abnormal cells do not function as they should and start replacing other normal cells in the body. Thanks to the research as cancer can be treated in different ways depending upon the type, size, location and degree of spread. Some of the treatment includes surgically removing the abnormal cells or adjoining tissues in the human body and use of radiotherapy in which high intensity x-rays are used to slow down the growth of cancerous cells.
All the patients suffering from cancer require blood transfusions due to loss of blood during surgery. They also are in great need of blood to compensate the effects of chemotherapy drugs. These drugs affect fast-dividing normal cells and cancerous cells. The process of chemotherapy also affects bone marrow which is responsible for the production of blood cell. As a result, people suffering from cancer become incapable to produce new blood cells and replace destroyed blood cells. This cycle leads to loss of blood cell counts and require transfusion of red blood cells or platelets. The process of blood transfusion proves useful to manage the effects of low blood cells and helps to continue the process of treating cancer.
Blood transfusion can be made possible by supplying blood or part of it into the vein of a person with the help of an intravenous (IV) line. It can be given to an individual incapable to produce sufficient blood cells or bleeding. This process save millions of lives every year.
Most of the people donate whole blood which can be called as a unit or pint of blood that equals to around 450 millilitres or 16.7 ounces. While the reality lies in the fact that whole blood is used rarely for a transfusion and is divided into red blood cells, plasma or platelets. Each component of blood does a different job. Plasma can be divided into certain types of proteins or clotting factors. This helps to meet the requirement of the doctors and get maximum benefit from the donated blood.
Cancer patients require blood transfusions due to several reasons.
Cancer leads to internal bleeding that leads to anaemia due to lack of red blood cells. All the blood cells are formed in the bone marrow and the cancerous cells in the bone marrow spread to other parts of the human body and affect normal blood-making cells which lead to fall in blood counts.
Even people who suffered from cancer for a shorter period of time feels anemic.Such type of anaemia occurs due to long term medical problems affecting the production of RBC.
All types of treatment of cancer necessitate blood transfusions due to the given reasons:
Surgery: The complete surgical process used for the treatment of cancer leads to loss of blood and require RBC or platelet transfusions.
Chemotherapy: The drugs used for chemotherapy affects bone marrow cells. It leads to fall in the count of blood cells and gave rise to life-threatening infections or excessive bleeding.
Use of Radiation: The high intensity rays when used for the treatment of larger bone area, it affects bone marrow and leads to fall in the blood cell counts.
Bone marrow transplant (BMT): Peripheral blood stem cell transplant or BMT need to undergo from chemotherapy or radiation therapy which damage the blood-producing cells in the bone marrow. Such patients require blood transfusions as they have lower number of blood cell counts.
All this indicates that there is a rise in the need of blood transfusions in individual cancer patients due to increase in the chemotherapy cycles.