Developing cancer from a transplant.

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Joined: 26 Feb 2013 09:59
Full Name: Kannivelu Badrinath
Name of Your College/Medical School: Madras Medical College, Madras, India

Developing cancer from a transplant.

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A 49 year old woman in UK was reported to have developed cancer of the lymph nodes following a kidney transplant that she received in December 2017. She was then told she was too ill to undergo chemotherapy. Ten weeks after she received the donor organ, she was told by a doctor that she had to have the kidney removed.

John Forsythe, the medical director for organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We are aware of this tragic case and our thoughts are with the recipients and their families.

At the hospital where the transplant was carried out they said all processes were followed correctly. It is rare for transplant patients to develop cancer, but it is a risk involved in the process.

John Forsythe said , "In very rare cases it is possible that the donor has a very small tumour which cannot be picked up by the tests which can be performed in the limited time available prior to transplant". "This means the transmission of an undiagnosed cancer is a known risk, although thankfully it is very rare."

Organ transplants
A total of 4,039 people had a transplant from a deceased donor in the UK last year. The risk of transmission of a previously undiagnosed cancer from a donor to a recipient is about 1 in 2,000 organs transplanted.

Between 2001 and 2010 in the UK, 15 out of 30,765 transplant recipients developed donor‐transmitted cancers, of whom three died as a consequence. During the same period, 4,093 patients died while waiting for transplants.
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