Few people understand the vital role blood platelet donation can
make in a cancer patient's recovery and the high demand for
platelets, especially because of their short five-day shelf life.
"When a patient undergoes chemotherapy or radiotherapy to treat
cancer such as leukemia, that treatment can suppress the patient's
bone marrow where blood cells are produced. Until the bone marrow
recovers, the patient will be at risk of severe bleeding due to a
lack of platelets, which are responsible for blood clotting in the
bloodstream. The recovery period may take several weeks," explained
Dr. Meghna Desai, who practices as a hematologist and oncologist
with the Simmons Cancer Institute and SIU School of Medicine.
Desai added: "More patients are being successfully treated with
platelet transfusions after chemotherapy. This has led to a large
increase in the numbers of platelet transfusions needed. Platelet
transfusions can also be lifesaving to patients in whom bleeding due
to a lack of platelets can leave serious long-term consequences."
Ann McKanna, president of the Illinois Coalition of Community
Blood Centers, explained how "the process for platelet donation is
different from that of whole blood."
"Apheresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) is a special kind of blood donation
that allows a donor to give specific blood components, such as
platelets," she said. "During the apheresis procedure, all but the
needed blood component are returned to the donor. One apheresis
donation provides enough platelets for one complete transfusion --
that's six times the amount collected from a whole blood donation.
"Since platelets are replenished fairly quickly in your system, a
volunteer can donate platelets every seven days up to 24 times a
year," she added.
Representatives from the American Cancer Society said it is
important that the public is aware of how people can make a
difference in a cancer patient's life and have an effect on their
recovery by donating platelets.
"The American Cancer Society knows the lifesaving power of
volunteers," said Stephen Hunt, regional director for the
organization's Western Region. "Individuals who donate blood or
platelets on a regular basis, drive a patient to and from
treatments, or take time out or recruit others to participate in our
Cancer Prevention Study-3 are literally saving lives today and in
The American Cancer Society is currently seeking cancer fighters
in the Springfield area who are interested in helping to spread the
word about participating in the Cancer Prevention Study-3, known as
CPS-3, a historic nationwide study to help researchers better
understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that
cause or prevent cancer.
CPS-3 enrollment will take place at the Stratton Building in
Springfield on May 1 and at other sites in Taylorville and
Springfield later in the month.
For information on the study, guidelines for enrollment, dates
and times, and enrollment sites throughout Illinois, visit
www.cps3illinois.org. To make an appointment, visit the CPS-3
website or call the American Cancer Society at 217-523-4503.
[to top of second column]
"As a cancer survivor, this event is very important for
Illinoisans receiving lifesaving cancer treatments," said state Rep.
Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, in connection with the news conference.
"Raising awareness and educating our communities about the need for
blood platelet donations is vital in the fight against cancer. I
thank the American Cancer Society and the Illinois Coalition of
Community Blood Centers for teaming up to help improve the lives of
our friends, family and neighbors."
The Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers is a statewide
association made up of not-for-profit blood centers whose mission is
to increase awareness of the importance of volunteer blood donation
through public education and advocacy. To schedule an appointment to
donate platelets or whole blood, contact your local community blood
ICCBC members and contact information:
Community Blood Center, a division of Mississippi Valley Blood
Tara Matheson: 1-866-448-3253
Services of Illinois, a division of Mississippi Valley Regional
Carrie Webb: 217-367-2202
Jill Bernard: 708-342-9765
Chicagoland's Blood Center
Tammy Basile: 847-420-6094
Regional Blood Center
Kirby Winn: 663-359-5401
Rock River Valley Blood Center
Ellen Holmes: 815-965-8751
The American Cancer Society is a global grass-roots force of 3
million volunteers working to save lives and end cancer. For nearly
a century, the organization has been involved in cancer prevention
and early detection, support for people who have been diagnosed with
cancer, finding cures, and related public policy work. The American
Cancer Society is the nation's largest nongovernmental investor in
cancer research, contributing more than $3.8 billion. To learn more
about the American Cancer Society or to get help, call
1-800-227-2345 anytime or visit
[Text from news release from
Illinois Coalition of
Community Blood Centers and
Society, Illinois Division]