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Can I Donate If I’ve Had Cancer?

It’s a question we’re asked a lot and there’s good news: cancer survivors may be able to donate.

With any donor (cancer history or not), LifeSource and the transplant team review every case to determine that the person is cancer-free and that the organs have not sustained damage from prior cancer treatment. Depending on the cancer type, remission status, and the function of the organs, the decision about which organs or tissues can be safely transplanted is made by medical professionals. If cancer is actively spreading, organs cannot be transplanted. When someone is cancer-free for a long time, organs may be able to be transplanted.

There are few exceptions to this. However, one example is brain cancer. If a potential donor has brain cancer, that would not rule them out for organ donation as long as the blood/brain barrier has not been breached. In other words, if the cancer is only in the brain, donation can proceed.

Tissues, such as tendons, skin and bone can also be donated for transplant. If organs and tissues can’t be donated, eye donation is one way to offer help to others.  Almost anyone with cancer can be an eye donor. You can learn more about tissue donation and eye donation on our blog.

If you want to save lives by registering as a donor, check the box on your driver’s license application or renewal, or register online. You can also register on your hunting and fishing license.

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