Depending on the type, size, location and degree of spread, cancer treatment may include:
Surgically removing the abnormal cells and surrounding tissue
Radiotherapy, which uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or stop them growing, and
Medications including chemotherapy to kill or slow the rate of cancer cell growth.
Blood cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma have a significant effect on your white cell, red cell and platelet counts, which can result in life-threatening infections, anaemia and bleeding.
Chemotherapy drugs affect fast-dividing cancerous cells but can’t tell the difference between good and bad cells.
That means that bone marrow, which is like a factory for blood cell production and has fast dividing cells, is also affected by chemotherapy.
Patients receiving chemotherapy treatment have decreased ability to produce new blood cells and aren't able to replace blood cells that have been destroyed. To compensate for this side effect of chemotherapy, transfusion of red cells or platelets may be needed.
Blood transfusions help manage signs and symptoms experienced due to low blood cell counts and enable you to continue your cancer treatments.
If an operation is needed to remove the abnormal cells and surrounding tissue, you may require a transfusion if there is severe blood loss.