What Happens During and After a Blood Donation
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we decided to look at how giving blood helps doctors to provide better care for breast cancer patients. This year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been a big success, with both money and awareness being raised. As we move into November though, we shouldn’t let the good work stop there.
Thousands of people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year – and they need all the help they can get. One way of helping sufferers is to donate blood. If you’re wondering how a blood donation can help a breast cancer patient, then read on to find out how the process works from start to finish.
Why Is The Blood Needed?
There isn’t really one particular reason why a breast cancer patient may need treatment involving donated blood. Cancer is a disease that varies wildly from person to person, and you can’t expect two cases to be the same. The cancer itself can cause problems that make a blood transfusion essential – especially if someone has had the disease for a long time. Often though, treatments like chemotherapy can make a patient ill. While they are effective at keeping the disease at bay, they are undeniably tough on the body. Surgery to treat cancer can also result in blood loss. With so many different factors at play, it’s no surprise that blood donations are needed all year round.
What Donating Blood Entails
So how is a blood donation carried out? Well, you need to pass some suitability and anaemia tests to make sure it’s safe for you to donate. Then, while you recline in a special chair, a nurse will place a cuff around your arm so that they can locate your veins. Once they’ve done that, they can then insert the needle. Don’t worry, it’s pretty painless! Your donation will take around ten minutes to complete, after which you should take it easy for a few hours. Your body will recover quickly, completely replenishing the blood that it has lost (just under a pint) in a matter of weeks. So that’s your part done – what then happens next?
After You’ve Done Your Bit
Of course, donations need to be processed correctly for them to help, so much goes on behind the scenes after you donate blood. Everything from the, phlebotomy trolleys, blood bags and blood bag labels to the blood testing equipment needs to be paid for and maintained. It’s a complex operation, and one that wouldn’t work without the correct information on each blood bag. Vital donor details and expiration dates need to be instantly visible to a health professional – so you get an idea of just how important the correct labelling is!
After your blood has been bagged and labelled, it is then sent off for HIV screening. Providing that comes back clear, it is then split into different components; red blood cells, platelets and plasma. While each of these building blocks of blood do a different job, they all have the power to help a person suffering with breast cancer.
You Have The Power To Save A Life
Hopefully this article has given you some insight into the process of a blood donation – both during the procedure and after. Giving blood is an incredibly selfless thing to do, but it isn’t that difficult either. For the small price of less than an hour of your day, someone’s life could be improved – or even saved. Now, if that’s not a no brainer, we don’t know what is.
Giving blood is one of the easiest ways you can change the life of someone battling breast cancer.