Do you know your blood group?: I was surprised... - CLL Support

CLL Support

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Do you know your blood group?


I was surprised to learn that the major use of donated blood is helping people with cancer and blood diseases. Just 2% of red blood cells are used to treat trauma patients, including those involved in road accidents. Most of us would know how important it is to correctly match the blood group type of donor and patient, but not be aware of the details. For a highly understandable article on the ABO and Rhesus blood group systems, it would be hard to improve on this article by Ashley Ng, Post Doctoral Fellow and Haematologist at Australia's oldest Medical Research Institute, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Coincidentally this institute celebrates it's centenary next year, a period just slightly less than that in which blood typing has been saving lives.

For a snapshot view of how donated blood is used, check out this page by the Australian Red Cross:

Note that donated blood use is categorised into three groups: red cells, plasma and platelets. We may need blood products from each of them to improve our quality of life while on Watch and Wait as well as to possibly save our lives during treatment, by helping us recover from anaemia, boost our immunity (IVIG transfusions) or boost falling platelet levels.


5 Replies

Thanks Neil. I found this article very interesting. Thank goodness for donated blood. Have received some myself so very grateful to all donators.


innowra in reply to wroxham-gb

I was a blood donor for years, that was until December last year when I was DX now they don't want it any more :-( thank heavens for the many people who donate never knowing where thre their blood ends up or who they are helping.

NooNoo14 in reply to innowra

I, like Innowra donated until my diagnosis in November 2010. I felt almost guilty when they told me so talked two family members into donating in my place. Bless them all

AussieNeilAdministrator in reply to NooNoo14

Well done in having not one but two family members replace you! Like you and Innowra, I regularly donated for over 35 years, so it was a sad day when I was promptly told that my donations were no longer acceptable after informing the Red Cross Blood Bank of my diagnosis. In the last few years, I was matched with someone that needed regular blood product donations, so I'd often get a call at short notice. You wonder how they'll manage, given the increasingly rigorous screening process and worry if you could have inadvertently shared your CLL, though thankfully that seems to be rather unlikely.

NooNoo14 in reply to AussieNeil

That was exactly what I did - wondered if it was possible that my donation did harm rather than good pre-diagnosis. Who knows how long I had it before a chance we'll woman exam via work discovered it! Scary thought.

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