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Danger of failure to diagnose cancer in transplant recipients

When many people hear the word cancer, they think of a death sentence. The truth of the matter is that many forms of cancer can be successfully treated. The survival rate for 5 years for all forms of cancers is at about 66 percent. For breast, thyroid and prostate cancer, that rate is greater than 90 percent. One of the keys to treating cancer is to start treatment for it as early as possible.

Our readers in Kentucky might already know that cancer isn't contagious. There is, however, an exception to that rule that might interest our readers. That exception is in the case of organ and tissue transplants. The risk of this isn't great. Only around two cases of transplant-related cancer are reported for every 10,000 organ transplants. In most cases, doctors won't use the organs and tissues from a person with a history of cancer.

When doctors are evaluating a person for cancer, they might consider a family history of cancer. In the case of a person with a transplant-related cancer, that family history might not play a part in the diagnosis of cancer at all. Even a person with no family history of a familial cancer, the possibility of that cancer presenting in the transplant patient is possible if the organ or tissue donor has a family history of that type of cancer.

Any delay in treating cancer can be devastating for patients. Transplant patients often have a weakened immune system, which might make things worse. Anyone who has suffered from a delayed diagnosis for cancer might choose to seek compensation for the effects of the delayed treatment.

Source: National Cancer Institute, "Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions" accessed Feb. 06, 2015

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