Blood transfusions – a lifeline for patients with leukaemia

2015-10-13 06:00

IN October, South Africa adopts a focus on breast and other cancers.

This complex group of conditions is responsible for many deaths and a significant degree of illness in the country: about one in six men and one in six women will develop cancer during their lifetime.

Cancers of the blood – including a variety of leukaemia – are common, and feature as the top type of cancer among South African children up to the age of 19.

Most of these patients will need blood transfusion as part of their treatment, so the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is urging the nation to keep in mind the importance of having a sufficient supply of safe blood.

Communications manager of SANBS Vanessa Raju said: “Give often, give generously as it is not just the thousands of leukaemia cancer patients who need your gift of life, patients of other terminal diseases, gynaecological complications and accident victims are also amongst those who need blood transfusions.

“Blood is a unique medical resource – unlike other products, it cannot be manufactured in a laboratory or a factory – it comes from us.”

In leukaemia, cancerous cells are found throughout the body, in the blood or in bone marrow. There is no tumour or growth, making it sometimes difficult to detect and diagnose.

Patients experience different symptoms which vary in combination and severity: general weakness and feeling of tiredness; frequent infections; bruising or bleeding easily; blood in urine or stools; or pain in the bones or joints.

“As leukaemia attacks the body’s blood supply and interferes with normal production of blood cells – red, white and plasma cells – it is common for patients to be insufficient in red blood cells and develop anaemia, or have too few of other kinds of blood cells. These developments make patients feel tired, breathless or be more prone to infections. Treatment requires boosting blood counts with healthy donated cells in the form of blood transfusions,” said Raju.

She said that many people with leukaemia often come to think of transfusions as a lifeline – fresh blood invigorates them, and with new energy they feel enabled to keep up with severe demands of treatment and to maintain hope of defeating the cancer.

Raju concludes that concern about cancer is an important reason to donate blood as most people know someone close who has cancer.

- Supplied

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.