We had a blast at the 2013 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, on Sunday, Oct. 6, a Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

Cathy's Crickets

Cathy’s Crickets walked the race in honor of Lane Blood nurse Cathy Emerson, who passed away from cancer several years ago. The Bloodmobile was on site from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and race participants, supporters and volunteers stopped by to donate. It takes a lot to beat cancer, and donated blood is an important tool in many cancer patients’ fight.

Check out our Facebook photo album from the event.

How Cancer Patients Use Blood

According to the American Cancer Society, blood product transfusions are used to replace important components of the blood when there are not enough in the body, either because they have been lost through bleeding or are not being made. There are many possible reasons people might need blood product transfusions, such as major bleeding (due to trauma or surgery) or diseases and treatments that slow production of blood cells.

 

start line

People with cancer might need blood transfusions because of the cancer itself. For example:

  • Some cancers (especially digestive system cancers) can cause internal bleeding, which can lead to anemia (too few red blood cells).
  • Cancers that start in the bone marrow (such as leukemias) or cancers that spread there from other places may crowd out the normal blood-making cells, leading to low blood counts.
  • People who have had cancer for some time may develop what is known as anemia of . This anemia results from certain long-term medical conditions that affect the production and lifespan of red blood cells.
  • Cancer can also lower blood counts in other ways by affecting organs such as the kidneys and spleen, which are involved in keeping enough cells in the blood.

Cancer treatments may also lead to the need for blood transfusions:

  • Surgery to treat cancer is often a major operation, and blood loss may lead to a need for red blood cell or platelet transfusions.
  • Most chemotherapy drugs affect cells in the bone marrow. This commonly leads to low levels of white blood cells and platelets, which can sometimes put a person at risk for life-threatening infections or bleeding.
  • When radiation is used to treat a large area of the bones, it can affect the bone marrow and lead to low blood cell counts.
  • Bone marrow transplant (BMT) or peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT) patients get large doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. This destroys the blood-making cells in the bone marrow. These patients often have very low blood cell counts after the procedure and may need transfusions

One Patient’s Story

Nancy Trautman knows the value of donated blood firsthand. During treatment for separate diagnoses of ovarian and breast cancer, Nancy relied on blood transfusions for the strength to keep on fighting. Nancy was be featured in “Faces of Breast Cancer,” a story that aired on KMTR the evening before the race. She appears at the 23:30 mark. Watch it here.

So join us Sunday and help us give people like Nancy a second chance at life.

Author: Rebecca Taylor

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