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Lung Transplantation

Can a Lung Transplant Recipent Have Cancer

01/08/2008

Question:

Does previously having lung cancer rule one out of being eligible for a lung transplant?

Answer:

When considering a patient for transplantation, a prior history of any type of cancer is of potential concern.  Because the immune system helps to suppress the development of many types of cancer, modification of the the immune system with medications (as is necessary following transplantation) makes the transplant recipient at a greater risk for a recurrence of their cancer.  

Depending on the type of cancer involved, the current recommendations when considering lung transplantation are that a patient must be free of cancer for a minimum of 2 to 5 years.  Of course, each case is evaluated individually and factors such as the patient's age, functional status, and the type of cancer treatment they received are considered.

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Response by:

David  R Nunley, MD, FCCP David R Nunley, MD, FCCP
Former Associate Professor
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University