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Can You Donate Blood If You Have Breast Cancer

Managing High Blood Pressure

BREAST CANCER: Blood tests available that could catch the disease early

High blood pressure increases your risk of heart problems, stroke, and kidney problems. If you have chest pains, a severe headache, nausea, dizziness, or lose your sight, call your doctor immediately.

If you have a history of high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about the best ways to control it. You may be able to take medication. You also can try these tips to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range:

  • Exercise regularly. This keeps your heart fit and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques such as guided imagery or meditation.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can raise your blood pressure.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Fill your plate with foods low in saturated fat and sodium, and try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they can raise your blood pressure.

How Is It Treated

You and your doctor will decide which mix of treatments is right for you based on many things. These include facts about your cancer as well as your family history, other health problems, and your feelings about keeping your breast.

Breast cancer is usually treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or targeted therapy.

In some cases, you may need to decide whether to have surgery to remove just the cancer or surgery that removes the entire breast .

Treatments can cause side effects. Your doctor can let you know what problems to expect and help you find ways to manage them.

When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Talking with other women who are going through the same thing may help. Your doctor or your local branch of the Canadian Cancer Society can help you find a support group.

Palliative And Supportive Care

Palliative and supportive care focuses on symptom control and support. Its an extremely important part of the care and treatment for many people living with secondary breast cancer and can significantly improve quality of life for them and their families.

People often associate palliative care with end-of-life treatment. However, many people value having it at any stage of their illness, alongside their medical treatment, to help prevent and relieve symptoms such as pain or fatigue. It can also help with the emotional, social and spiritual effects of secondary breast cancer.

The palliative and support care teams are based in hospitals, hospices and the community. You can be referred by your treatment team, GP or breast care nurse depending on your situation.

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Donating Your Own Blood For Later Use

Donating your own blood for later use is called autologous donation. Autologous donation is most often done in the weeks before you have a scheduled surgery that will likely require blood transfusion. Your own blood can then be used during or after the operation to replace any blood you may have lost.

This is generally thought to be the safest form of blood transfusion because youre getting your own blood back. Still, its not totally without risk. Theres always the very small chance that bacterial contamination or clerical errors can happen.

People who arent able to donate blood for others may still be able to donate blood for themselves.

There is a processing fee for collecting, testing, storing, and delivering each unit of autologous blood. Be aware that your health insurance may not fully pay for this. You also need to plan ahead so that you have enough time before surgery to have your blood cell counts go back to normal after your blood has been collected.

What Cancer Patients May Donate Blood And When

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Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Cancer survivors may sometimes be able to donate blood if they are more than a year out from therapy. Yet there are situations, such as with leukemias and lymphomas and more, where donating at any time after treatment isn’t considered safe for those who would receive the blood.

It’s important to note that individual blood donation organizations, as well as different countries, have different requirements, and it can take a little research to know if you are eligible. When can people who have had cancer donate blood, when can they not, and what are the reasons behind this?

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Rules That Protect Blood Donors

Aside from protecting those who receive donated blood, rules are also in place to protect people who want to donate. Although guidelines can vary slightly by state and facility, for the most part donors must:

  • Be healthy
  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Not have donated blood within the past 8 weeks

People who are taking blood thinners or certain drugs that are used to treat acne, baldness, an enlarged prostate, or some other conditions may not be able to donate unless theyve stopped the drug for a certain amount of time. Other health and travel questions are reviewed with each donor in detail.

Tissue Transplants Are In Great Need But Can You Donate Your Tissues If You Went Through Cancer Treatment

Once again, any cancer survivor’s eligibility for being a tissue or organ donor largely depends on the cancer you’ve had and any existing medical conditions you have had to receive treatment for cancer. Accepting tissue or organ donation from individuals with actively spreading cancer upon their death is not recommended by UNOS. However, individuals who have successfully went through cancer treatment will most likely be able to donate organs or tissues, as passing cancer on to an organ or tissue recipient is very small.

Related Read: Can I Donate my Organs After Cancer?

Tissue donation is also a vital part of cancer research. Even if you can’t donate your tissue directly to a recipient, there is a good possibility that your tissue could be used as part of a cancer research study. Research donations are vital to the medical community as they help increase knowledge of the disease and help uncover new cancer treatment methods. Tissue donation can provide so much to both recipients and the medical community as a whole.

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Blood Donation Eligibility Requirements

The basic requirements for blood donation state that it is okay for an individual to donate whole blood every 56 days if the following guidelines are met:

  • Being at least 17 years of age
  • Being in general good health and feeling well
  • Weighing at least 110 pounds

Further requirements include restrictions on some medications, the absence of HIV/AIDS, and a normal hemoglobin level among others. An example of possible requirements is the Red Cross eligibility requirements which also goes into detail on eligibility criteria by topic.

What About Other Treatments That I Hear About

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When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.

Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.

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How Does The Doctor Know I Have Breast Cancer

A change seen on your mammogram may be the first sign of breast cancer. Or you may have found a lump or other change in your breast.

The doctor will ask you questions about your health and will do a physical exam. A breast exam is done to look for changes in the nipples or the skin of your breasts. The doctor will also check the lymph nodes under your arm and above your collarbone. Swollen or hard lymph nodes might mean breast cancer has spread there.

If signs are pointing to breast cancer, more tests will be done. Here are some of the tests you may need:

Mammogram: This is an x-ray of the breast. Mammograms are mostly used to find breast cancer early. But another mammogram might be done to look more closely at the breast problem you might have.

MRI scan: MRIs use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to make detailed pictures. MRIs can be used to learn more about the size of the cancer and look for other tumors in the breast.

Breast ultrasound: For this test, a small wand is moved around on your skin. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off tissues. The echoes are made into a picture that you can see on a computer screen. Ultrasound can help the doctor see if a lump is a fluid-filled cyst , or if it’s a tumor that could be cancer.

Nipple discharge exam: If you have fluid coming from your nipple, some of it may be sent to a lab. There, it will be checked to see if there are cancer cells in it.

Cancer Patients Depend On Blood And Platelet Donors In A Number Of Ways

ChemotherapyDrugs taken during chemotherapy can cause a drop in white blood cells and platelets. This puts patients at risk for both infections and bleeding.

RadiationRadiation treatment affects the bone and leads to low blood cell counts

SurgeryPatients who have surgery to remove cancer often need blood during the operation.

Bone Marrow TransplantsTransplant patients may undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy and need blood donations to recover.

Anemia

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Tests To Determine Specific Types Of Treatment

You’ll also need tests that show whether the cancer will respond to specific types of treatment.

The results of these tests can give your doctors a more complete picture of the type of cancer you have and how to treat it.

In some cases, breast cancer cells can be stimulated to grow by hormones that occur naturally in your body, such as oestrogen and progesterone.

If this is the case, the cancer may be treated by stopping the effects of the hormones or by lowering the level of these hormones in your body. This is known as hormone therapy.

During a hormone receptor test, a sample of cancer cells will be taken from your breast and tested to see if they respond to either oestrogen or progesterone.

If the hormone is able to attach to the cancer cells using a hormone receptor, they’re known as hormone-receptor positive.

While hormones can encourage the growth of some types of breast cancer, other types are stimulated by a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 .

These types of cancers can be diagnosed using a HER2 test and are treated with medicine that blocks the effects of HER2. This is known as targeted therapy.

Want to know more?

Support For Living With Secondary Breast Cancer In The Liver

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Everyones experience of being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer is different, and people cope in their own way.

For many people, uncertainty can be the hardest part of living with secondary breast cancer.

You may find it helpful to talk to someone else whos had a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.

  • Chat to other people living with secondary breast cancer on our online Forum.
  • Meet other women with a secondary diagnosis and get information and support at a Living with Secondary Breast Cancer meet-up.
  • Live Chat is a weekly private chat room where you can talk about whatevers on your mind.

You can also call Breast Cancer Nows Helpline free on 0808 800 6000.

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What Treatments May I Be Offered

Treatment for secondary breast cancer in the liver aims to relieve symptoms and slow down the growth of the cancer.

Treatments can be given alone or in combination.

When making decisions about how best to treat you, your treatment team will consider factors such as:

  • how extensive the cancer is within the liver
  • whether the cancer has spread to other organs
  • any symptoms you have
  • what treatment youve had in the past
  • the features of the cancer
  • whether youve been through the menopause
  • your general health

Your specialist should discuss any recommendations for treatment with you and take into account your wishes. Theyll talk with you about your options, explain what the aim of your treatment will be and help you weigh up the potential benefits against the possible side effects you may have.

Hormone therapy is used to treat breast cancers that are oestrogen receptor positive.

If you had a biopsy or surgery for primary breast cancer, the tissue removed will have been tested to see if it is ER+. However, in some people the oestrogen receptors change during the development of secondary breast cancer. Because of this, your doctor may discuss performing a biopsy to retest for hormone receptors.

Your Gp Says Your Tests Are Normal

Your doctor may have arranged blood tests and, maybe, a chest X-ray. Normal results are reassuring usually, something will be out of kilter if youve got a Nasty lurking somewhere.

But basic tests dont totally give you the all-clear if your problem persists, you might need more detailed investigations.

If in doubt, of course, it is best to consult your GP. But do bear in mind that most symptoms are, thankfully, harmless. So chances are youll just get a dose of reassurance.

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What Do I Need To Know About Covid

There are several COVID-19 vaccines that are now in use in different parts of the world. In the United States, the 3 vaccines in use are made by Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. Globally, other vaccines are available or are in process of receiving Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization .

For COVID-19 vaccines that are 2-dose vaccines, both doses followed by a third dose are recommended to ensure full vaccination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of mix and match booster doses on October 20, 2021, and this was approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . For example, someone who received the initial vaccination series with the Moderna vaccine could receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive an additional primary dose of either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine. This is not the same as a booster dose. Instead, it is part of the primary series of the vaccinations. For moderately to severely immunocompromised people, which includes people who are being treated for blood cancers or have had bone marrow/stem cell or organ transplants:

  • People age 5 and older who received 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine should receive an additional dose 28 days after the 2nd shot.
  • People who are 18 and older who received 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine should receive an additional dose 28 days after the 2nd shot.

Donating Platelets After Cancer Treatment

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Platelets are the tiny cells in your blood that help to form clots and stop bleeding. The blood’s ability to clot prevents all of us from bleeding out too much from an injury. When an individual’s platelets are low, it can lead to severe or life-threatening issues. Low platelets are a particular concern for those who are dealing with cancer.

Overall, platelet donation is in high demand. Every 15 seconds, someone is in need of platelets. Platelet donation is also time-dependent as platelets must be used within five days of collection. Many cancer patients require platelet transfusions as part of their cancer treatment, specifically those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants.

As a cancer survivor yourself, it’s only natural that you would want to give back in the same manner that you were saved. However, the guidelines for platelet donors are similar to blood donation guidelines. Cancer survivors of solid tumor cancers are eligible to donate platelets 12 months after completing treatment and receiving a clean bill of health. Cancer survivors of blood cancers are ineligible to donate platelets due to the nature of their disease.

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What Causes Breast Cancer

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes breast cancer. But some things are known to increase the chance that you will get it. These are called risk factors. Risk factors that you cannot change include getting older and having changes to certain genes. Risk factors you may be able to change include using certain types of hormone therapy after menopause, being overweight, and not getting enough physical activity.

But many women who have risk factors don’t get breast cancer. And many women who get breast cancer don’t have any known risk factors other than being female and getting older.

Other Breast Cancer Gene Protein And Blood Tests

Samples that have been collected during biopsies, bloodwork, or other tests are sent to a pathology lab. A pathologist, a doctor who uses lab tests to diagnose diseases such as cancer, will look at the samples and may do other special tests to help better classify the cancer. These tests can also help choose certain drugs that might work better for your cancer. This is sometimes called precision or personalized medicine because it is precise for the features of your cancer.

The results of these tests are described in a pathology report, which is usually available within a week or two. If you have any questions about your pathology results or any diagnostic tests, talk to your doctor. If needed, you can get a second opinion of your pathology report by having your tissue samples sent to a pathologist at another lab.

For more information see Precision or Personalized Medicine.

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