Donating Blood

Having been a regular blood and platelets donor for many years, I’ve just been advised that as I’m having chemo following my mastectomy, I will NEVER be able to donate again. I appreciate that during the 5 years following my treatment, whilst taking tamoxifen, I won’t be able to donate. But NEVER?

Can someone please confirm whether or not this is the case?

This has really, really upset me - even more than my surgery and my future treatment.

Please, please if you have any family or friends who don’t already donate, ask them to do something special this Christmas for you by ringing 0300 123 23 23 or registering on the National Blood Service website. And no, I’m not on commission! I just feel very passionate about helping others. And sadly only 3 in 10 people are eligible to donate platelets. So if you know someone who can - that makes them very, very special. Platelets are used within 5 days after taken from the donor as they are used for patients whose own blood won’t clot after surgery or cancer treatment(children and adults!)

Even if 1 person donates after my message, that’ll replace me not being able to donate again.

Thanks for listening. Best wishes to you all.

Deb x x

Hi Deb
I was also devastated to find out I cannot donate blood anymore, and after I phoned to tell them received a certificate…cue floods and floods of tears…

More to the point any of us who have had ops, have depended on someone else to have donated, so blood was available if needed. Please try and persuade any of your friends/family to donate to replace those of us who can’t any longer

SJ xx


I too have just had to give up donating blood because of the chemotherapy. I received my certificate for 28 donations and a thank you a couple of weeks ago.

I suppose it is right, I don’t suppose it’s good to receive blood from someone who’s had chemotherapy.

On the plus side my husband and son are going to donate today. I’ll have to try to persuade them to be platelet donors too.


Hi Deb,

If I was receiving a blood transfusion (which incidentally I did following an emergency caesarian years ago) I would be horrified to find out the donor had had a cancer diagnosis. No matter how ‘cured’ we might hope we are, there is no guarantee that there aren’t microscopic cancer cells circulating in our blood streams. If we were to donate blood might we be passing on our cancer to someone else?

I completely understand why I have to stop, but it’s something I have always been proud to do, and just another ramification of this bloody disease, that I hadn’t thought of. The list of things it affects just goes on and on…

Road Runner - completely agree, and I would assume the same applies to organ donations.
finty x


I think I’ve read somewhere that the only thing we can donate is our corneas. Not sure about that, someone may know better.

Aagh, it does get worse - organ donation is something I am passionate about - to the point of feeling that we should have an ‘opt-out’ register, rather than having to carry donor cards. But, my one squeamish thing was corneas… and now it looks like that’s the only bit anyone would want!!

My husband still keeps on with the blood, tho, and he is also a platelet donor. Sadly, he can’t do that too often, particularly as it means travelling to Southampton, and he can’t afford to take a day off work to donate, which is gutting. He’s O- so always highly in demand (at least he’s good for something…lmao…no, no, he’s a sweetie, really!)

Sophie x

I’d signed up to donate blood before I was diagnosed, but never actually got around to donating. Now I can’t, but I accompanied my son when he donated back in the summer and I felt a bit emotional. A pity as my blood group is a relatively rare B.

I’m passionate about organ donation too. All of our family have carried organ donor cards for years. At least our corneas might be some use - not much consolation. My mother had a cornea transplant so it would be good to still donate those.


Urm…if say we are ok in 5 or 10 or 20 years time…why can’t we be a donor then? I am not allowed to give blood due to having no spleen but carry a card for organs and if my kidneys are good enough for me in 10 years time why not someone else…cannot find answer on google!

In my experience blood donation was never easy. I have been turned down in the past because I had been to the dentist in the previous 2 weeks, because I lived in a developing country when I was a small child and for being a regular visitor to India. I tried to give it but they never wanted it!

Personally speaking I wouldn’t want any of my family receiving transplants or blood from cancer patients.

i have never successfully managed to give blood… been on holiday to south africa (think you can give it now but not back in the 80s), tattoo, piercing, needlestick injury, weighing under 7st12lb… and after getting cancer was told i couldnt give it ever even though i didnt have chemo first time, although did have it with 2nd primary…

but boy do i feel guilty when those adverts come on the telly or radio… “its not somebody else shes talking to… its you!”

yes well i would if i could :frowning: but im pretty sure nobody in their right mind would want my cancer infested genetically mutated blood or organs.

but being banned for a year because i had a tattoo or a needles stick injury seems a bit OTT… especially as 3 months after the needlestick i had the all clear that i didnt have any nasty diseases but they still didnt want my blood till it was a year!


I’ve only managed to donate a couple of times… tattoos, piercings, four children (no giving blood for 12 months afterwards, which I found strange… ) - all have combined to take up most of my adult life.

What is more worrying though, is that I last gave blood a year ago… and if cancer really does develop slowly, then what? My cancer had only spread to one lymph node, though was Grade 3, so the risk from my blood to someone else might be infinitesimal… but it does make you wonder how many other donors have hidden tumours? Still… at the point you need blood, you need it. No point worrying about what could be - better to focus on the here and now.

Sophie xx

Just realised I gave blood about 2 weeks before I found my lump…but there is nothing I can do about it…crap veins and all!!!

I managed 21 donations, in between travelling to Africa extensively in the 80’s (work), 2 children and on/off anaemia.

I have always carried a organ doner card (exception corneas - very squeamish about eyes - can’t even do contact lenses), and on the bone marrow register too! I always took the view that if my OH, kids etc needed anything, I would have expected someone else to donate etc.

I completely understand that they cannot run the risk of any rogue cells being transferred, and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but it does make me sad still…

I have often wondered…why can’t we give blood? You can’t catch cancer so what’s the problem?

I know I must be a bit thick but can someone enlighten me…

Sheana x

sheana cancer cells can travel around your body via the blood system so theoretically there is the potential that it could also spread to somebody else were they to get a transfusion.

Not being able to give blood any more is a positive for me. I have given blood several times and have fainted 3 times and felt really swimmy headed the other times but always thought I ought to make the effort - now I don’t have to make myself do it any more cos they won’t accept my blood anyway.

Hi Lulu,

I thought that may be the reason but then what about if we cut ourselves or the dentist etc…no precautions are taken then. We don’t have to declare we have/have had cancer…?

if you get a transfusion you are getting a pint of blood not a drop of blood and it is going directly into somebody elses vascular ssytem… its not thought to be infectious in the same way as hep b or c and hiv but if you purposefully put affected blood or orgins into somebody elses body in such quantities then it is thought to have a potential to manifest the disease in the recipient.

cuts, bites, scratches, needlesticks etc wouldnt be in enough quantities or directly into the vascular system.