Cancer Risk Is Higher For People Who Undergo Organ Transplant

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Increased risk of cancer in people who undergo organ transplant 

Latest research has found that people who undergo organ transplant face double the risk of cancer. Those who undergo transplantation of organs such as heart, kidney, lungs or liver are more exposed to cancer risk when compared to those who have not undergone cancer. The study also found that the risk of cancer was not specific to the organ that was transplanted.

The risk of developing cancer in any part of the body is higher in people who have undergone transplantations. The study was carried out by a team of scientists belonging to National Cancer Institute located inRockville.

What does the study say? 

For the study, a number of cases of people who had undergone transplantation and later developed cancer were studies. The number of transplantation cases is on a drastic increase in theUnited States. In 2010 alone, 28,664 transplantations were carried out in the country. Among these, 2333 were heart transplants, 16,899 were kidney transplants, 1770 were ling transplants and 6291 were liver transplants. These are all data of solid organ transplantation and do not include blood transfusions. The study said that the increase in risk was due to the fact that organs that are transplanted are more prone to developing viral infections due to low immunity levels. The process is called immunosuppression.

Relative and absolute risk of cancer studied 

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Two kinds of risks were studied in the research – relative risk of cancer and absolute risk of cancer. The research was led by Eric A. Engels. Data for the study was collected between the periods of 1987 and 2008. 13 state and regional cancer registries contributed information for the study. The researchers said that in order to understand the risk of cancer better, it is important to understand the role of different aspects such as infections, effectiveness of the immune system and acceptance of the organ by the body.

The study

A total of 175,732 cases of transplants were studied for the research. Among these, 39.1% were women and the rest were men. The average age of patients undergoing transplantation was 47. Of the total number of cases, cancer was detected in 10,656 people. Stunning discoveries were made in the follow up period. People who had undergone transplantation were exposed to increased risk of developing 32 types of cancers. While some of these cancers resulted from infections, others developed due to other reasons.

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