Can you 'catch' cancer from the blood of someone who is precancerous? Implausible as it sounds, some doctors suspected that several cancers, and especially non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, could be transmitted via blood transfusion.
But after analysing the progress of 12,012 individuals who had received blood from pre-cancerous donors, researchers discovered that it is just another medical myth. The recipients were no more likely to develop cancer than those who had a transfusion from healthy donors.
The results were the same even when the researchers factored in the number of transfusions, the age and the gender of the recipient, and the type of cancer the donor had.
As it stands, cancer victims - and survivors - are not allowed to give blood. Judging by what they've gone through, that's the last thing they should be thinking about anyway, even if they can't 'give' it to someone else.
(Source: The Lancet, 2007; 369: 1724-30).
E-news broadcast 24 May 2007 No.362