The Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery
Under the direction of Patricia
Ford, MD and Michael Columbus, the Center
for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery evaluates
and treats many cancer patients without the
use of blood products.
We are one of the only sites in the nation to
successfully perform high dose chemotherapy with
stem cell rescue using bloodless techniques.
Dr. Ford performed the first successful stem
cell transplant without blood in 1996.
It is important to know that cancer and some
treatments for cancer may affect your blood counts.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatments,
for example, attack rapidly dividing cancer cells.
In the process, these treatments may also affect
valuable cells in the bone marrow, where blood
cells are created. The Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital is dedicated to developing more effective treatments
for all types of cancers and forging medical
and scientific means of managing anemia and other
blood disorders without the use of blood or blood
Bloodless Risk vs. Benefit
Our patients who have chosen to receive non-blood
medical care have found that the benefits outweigh
the risk of transfusion. A bloodless approach
to treatment means:
- Shorter than customary hospital stay in many
- Reduced blood loss
- No chance of blood contamination due to AIDS,
hepatitis and other blood-borne viruses
Prior to treatment for cancer with surgery,
chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the patient
may undergo various interventions to stimulate
the production of his or her own blood cells.
These may include injections or intravenous infusions
of hormones, iron and vitamins. The treatments
may be given in a doctor's office or at home.
Most patients who elect bloodless medicine and
surgery will be seen and followed by one of our
hematologists to evaluate and monitor blood levels
during the course of treatment. When a patient
elects to be treated for cancer or other blood-related
problems such as anemia, they will also be seen
by a nurse, a social worker and a bloodless care
coordinator who specialize in alternatives to