NHS Blood and Transplant is calling on residents in England and North Wales to think about those who are battling cancer when they make their blood donations this month.
World Cancer Day takes place on 4 February this year and people from all around the world are being encouraged to work together and take a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer.
NHS Blood and Transplant is reminding donors that blood and platelets are often crucial in the treatment of cancer patients. Due to either the cancer or the method of treatment, including chemotherapy or radiotherapy, cancer patients can develop anaemia (a reduction in the number of red blood cells in their blood) or have a reduced number of platelets (the clotting cells which prevent bleeding) in their blood. A blood or platelet transfusion can give a patient more energy and improve their quality of life.
Jon Latham, NHS Blood and Transplant Assistant Director said: 'Many people know that blood is often used in accident and emergency situations, but more than 60 per cent of blood is used for non surgical treatment, which includes treating cancers and other blood disorders.
'With around 6,100 blood donations needed by hospitals in England and North Wales every day, I would encourage both new and returning donors to make a date to roll up their sleeve and donate.
'Giving blood should take around an hour from the time of your appointment to completing your donation. So make the time to give blood, you never know whose life you could save.'
Every blood donation is vital, but NHS Blood and Transplant particularly needs to ensure supplies of the universal blood group O Rh Negative which is often in short supply as demand is so great. We also need to ensure supplies of the rarer blood groups A Rh Negative, B Rh Negative and AB Rh Negative as these are also vulnerable to shortfall.
To book an appointment to donate visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 2323 to find your nearest session. It is also easy to book through mobile apps for Windows, Android and Apple devices. To download the app, search 'NHSGiveBlood' in the app store.
Notes to editors