MONDAY, Sept. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For solid organ transplant recipients, cancer is associated with a shortened life span, according to a study published online Sept. 20 in Cancer.

Anne-Michelle Noone, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used linked transplant and cancer registry data to identify incident cancers and deaths among solid organ transplant recipients in the United States from 1987 to 2014.

The researchers found that 5.9 percent of the 221,962 transplant recipients developed cancer within 10 years of transplantation. The mean life-years lost (LYL) due to cancer were 0.16 years per transplant recipient and 2.7 years per cancer case during this period. In this population, cancer was responsible for a loss of 1.9 percent of the total life-years expected in the absence of cancer. The highest proportion of LYL due to cancer was seen in lung recipients followed by heart recipients (0.45 and 0.29 percent, respectively). With age, there was an increase observed in LYL due to cancer, from 0.5 to 3.2 percent among those aged birth to 34 years at transplant and aged 50 years or older, respectively. Lung cancer was the largest contributor overall, followed by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, accounting for 24 and 15 percent of all LYL due to cancer, respectively.

“There are opportunities to reduce cancer mortality and extend the lives of transplant recipients through prevention and screening,” the authors write. “Because large proportions of LYL are caused [by] non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer, these cancers should be a priority.”

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