Cancer ‘not spread through blood donations’

Blood transfusions from donors who later go on to develop cancer do not increase the risk of the recipient developing cancer, a new Swedish-Danish study has shown.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Statens Serum Institut in Denmark went through data for 1.13 million blood donors and 1.3 million recipients of donor blood between 1968 and 2002. They looked more closely at 350,000 patients, of which 12,000 had received blood from people who went on to develop cancer.

The study, published in British medical journal The Lancet, found that people who had received blood from people who had undiagnosed cancer at the time on donating blood were at no higher risk of developing cancer than other transfusion recipients.

“Our data provide no evidence that blood transfusions from precancerous blood donors are associated with an increased risk of cancer among recipients compared with transfusions from non-cancerous donors,” the researchers wrote.