STUDY SAYS ORGAN TRANSPLANT PATIENTS AT MUCH HIGHER RISK OF CANCER MORTALITY

Jan 07, 2016

By Michael Kramer

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Patients who get liver, kidney and other organ transplants – are up to three times more likely to die from cancer – than the rest of us.

That’s the finding of a new study of more than 11,000 organ transplant recipients – which also discovered that almost one-fifth of the deaths in that group – over a twenty year period – were related to cancer.

And researchers found that children who received a new organ had a higher risk of dying from cancer – than transplant patients over age 60.

The lead researcher in the study is Dr. Nancy Baxter – a cancer surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital.

She says drugs used to suppress the immune system to prevent organ tissue rejection – are likely contributors to higher cancer rates – and a more aggressive onset of the disease.

Transplant patients were also found to have a 30 times higher risk of dying from skin cancer – than people in the general population.

Baxter says that’s why it’s critical for transplant patients to avoid exposure to the sun – and to have regular screening for melanoma.

The study is published in the medical journal JAMA Oncology

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