There's an unexpected risk that comes along with being a transplant patient. Not only are there surgical risks, but also research shows patients have an increased risk of cancer.
However, doctors have now developed a treatment option that's showing promising results. It can also keep the risk at bay.
Being vulnerable to everyday infections isn't the only risk to being a transplant patient. Up to two percent of kidney transplant patients also run the risk of getting cancer because they take drugs to weaken their immune system.
A virus called the Epstein-Barr virus can flare up in some patients and trigger cancer in the lymph nodes- Lymphoma. If that happens, it could be deadly.
But something is being done to reverse the chances.
Doctors at Ohio State's comprehensive center gave 11 patients a drug called Acyclovir, which fights viruses in the body and at the same time scales back the drugs that weaken the immune system.
Doctors found the lymphoma became undetectable in 10 of the 11patients. But, there is a chance that patients may still reject the organ.
Still, treatments like dialysis can keep them alive while they wait for another donor.