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How can I donate my own blood for a transfusion if I need cancer surgery?

If your need surgery, you can donate your own blood for a blood transfusion (autologous blood donation) in several ways, including:

1. Donating before surgery -- Blood banks can draw your blood and store it for your use. This is most often done for a planned surgery. Blood can be stored for only a limited time, so the donation must be planned with the date of surgery in mind.

2. Donating during surgery -- This can be done in two ways. If you are interested in either of the following, make an appointment to speak to your anesthesiologist before your date of surgery.
  • Right before surgery, your doctor may be able to remove some of your blood and replace it with other fluids ("hemodilution"). After surgery this blood may be returned to you.
  • During surgery, the surgeon may be able to recycle your blood ("cell saver"). Blood that is normally lost and discarded may be collected, processed, and returned to you. (This may not be an option for patients with cancer, since cancer cells can be "reintroduced" in the blood.)
3. Donating after surgery -- Blood that is lost after surgery may be collected, filtered, and returned to you. This may lessen or eliminate the need for another donor's blood.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.