New Eligibility Guidelines for Blood Donors with Previous Cancer Diagnoses

To coincide with American Red Cross recommendations, the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Program has redefined eligibility guidelines for donors who have had a history of previous cancer diagnoses.

New Eligibility Guidelines

“Worldwide, there has never been a reported case of any type of cancer being transferred via blood transfusion,” says Justin Kreuter, M.D., Medical Director of Mayo’s Blood Donor Program. “So, we recently reviewed our program’s cancer-deferral policy and updated our practice to be in line with the American Red Cross.”

The American Red Cross supplies approximately 40% of the donated blood in the United States, which it sells to hospitals and regional suppliers. Community-based blood centers supply 50%, and only 6% of blood and blood products are collected directly by hospitals.

Are These Changes Safe?
Approximately one year after most cancer treatments, the vast majority of patients will be sufficiently recovered to donate blood products.

“We continually review scientific data and medical literature on this topic—always with the best interests of our donors and recipients at the top of our list,” says Dr. Kreuter, “and as I noted earlier, zero cases have been reported in the world about transmitting cancer via blood transfusions.”

How to Donate
For more information about donating blood in Olmsted County in Rochester, Minnesota, call (507) 284-4475 or email For more information about the Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, visit the Blood Donor Center blog, the Blood Donor Center website, and/or like the center on Facebook.

April Josselyn

April Josselyn is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2012. Outside of work, April enjoys the outdoors and being "hockey mom" for her two sports-crazed boys.