Don Greggs, a long time prostate cancer survivor, recently asked his niece if people with cancer are able to donate organs at the time of their death. His niece who has worked in the organ recovery field gave him an answer that surprised me.

She said that having cancer does not eliminate the possibility of making an organ donation. Upon a donor’s death every potential organ is screened and an individual decision is rendered to the viability of the organ. Having cancer does not automatically rule out the possibility of making an organ donation, it might limit what can be harvested, but there can still be organs that can be donated. Every donor is screened and evaluated prior to organ recovery.

In many instances tissue can be recovered and used. This would include skin and tendons. Corneas are also commonly reusable. Depending upon the screening even long bones can be re-used, although this might not be true with men with prostate cancer.

Why not consider becoming an organ donor? Your donation can change someone’s entire life and of course the life of that person’s family. Cancer may limit what of your organs can be re-used, but some of your organs maybe reusable.

Become an organ donor and make one last significant difference in the world.

Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW