Candace's story

When Candace was 24 years old she was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.

Candace commenced chemotherapy to treat the lymphoma. The aim of chemotherapy treatment is to destroy or slow the rate of growth of the cancer cells. A known side effect of this treatment is that healthy blood cells can also be destroyed and the ability to make new blood cells can be affected during the treatment period.

After three months, Candace was informed that the chemotherapy wasn’t working well and she would need to start an escalated treatment regime. During this intensified treatment Candace became very ill and could not continue with her work and study.

After developing a fever, Candace went to the emergency department as she had been advised. Blood tests revealed she had developed pancytopaenia, a medical term used when all blood cell counts become low. This affects the white cells (neutropaenia), red cells (anaemia) and platelets (thrombocytopaenia). This occurred three times during the course of her treatment.

It was recommended that Candace receive both red cell and platelet transfusions to assist with her low counts and to enable her chemotherapy treatment to continue.

The staff at the hospital explained possible risks and benefits of receiving transfusions and described what would be involved. Candace agreed and signed a consent form to receive blood products.

Candace was able to go home after receiving the transfusions. She remembers feeling more energetic than when she was first admitted to hospital.

Candace is now lymphoma-free and since completing her treatment, has returned to work and finished studying to become a qualified yoga teacher.

Key information

  • Some cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can result in the need for a transfusion.
  • Chemotherapy treatment led to a decrease in Candace’s platelet, red and white blood cell counts.
  • Candace’s low red cell count (anaemia) and low platelet count (thrombocytopaenia) were treated with red cell and platelet transfusions.
  • Candace signed a consent form to receive blood products after learning about possible risks and benefits of receiving a transfusion.
  • Candace was able to go home after receiving red cell and platelet transfusions in the hospital.

Learn more about cancer and having a transfusion

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