The last discussion was approx October the 9th, 2008 and I'll be darn if I can find it..I emailed a local Carter Blood Care and the ARC American Red Cross about the different waiting periods...Here is a reply from the ARC:
Dear Mr. Jones:
I am replying to your e-mail sent to us earlier this afternoon in which you asked for an explanation for the different deferral periods you were being told in regards to deferring a donor with a history of cancer.
Actually, the FDA does not mandate anything about cancer-related deferral periods per se. Therefore, it is up to the individual blood centers or systems [like the American Red Cross Blood Services (ARCBS)] to set its own guidance. Given no documented cases (in the medical literature) of transfusion-transmitted cancer, the ARCBS recently decided that the deferral period for non-hematologic* types of cancer could be reduced—to one year, a change from the prior 5-year deferral period. Both deferral periods are arbitrary, but the thinking is that a one-year deferral would at least ensure that the donor (with history of cancer) has had the chance to regain his/her previous level of health. We always have to keep in mind the safety of the blood we collect in terms of the patient, as well as in regards to the donor—we have to ensure that in collecting a unit of blood, we are not compromising the health of a volunteer blood donor! As for the blood center that still defers a donor for 5 years, it might be in the process of changing to one year deferrals, too.
Mei-chien H. Fucci, M.D. Medical Officer, Southwest Region-Oklahoma
Chief Medical Officer, Central Plains Region