Donor organ's lymphoma underscores rare risk


A 66 year old man who underwent a kidney transplant last year has already had the kidney removed because it was discovered that lymphoma was present in the organ. Fortunately for the patient, he has not developed lymphoma.

According to, the donor was a car accident victim whose organs were harvested at Duke University Medical Center. The Observer also cites statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services that over the last 15 years, 39 deceased kidney donors in the US had some history of either lymphoma or leukemia.

It is very rare that a person develop cancer after receiving a donated organ, but not unheard of; the United Network for Organ Sharing examined 230,000 organ donations and found 64 such cases.

Every effort is made to make sure that donated organs are safe for those receiving them, but not everything can be caught, especially since time is of the essence in organ donation.

By Ross Bonander

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