Supporting the

Neuroendocrine Cancer Community

Blood and Organ donation and Cancer

Dec 6, 2021

We have had a few questions about this subject on our online forums.

Having an illness or medical condition doesn’t necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor. The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is made by medical specialists at the time of donation, taking into account your medical, travel and social history.

There are very few conditions where organ donation is ruled out completely.

A person cannot become an organ donor if they have or are suspected of having:

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
  • Ebola virus disease
  • Active cancer
  • HIV*

*In rare cases, the organs of donors with HIV have been used to help others with the same conditions. If you live with HIV and wish to be a donor, please register to donate, the medical team will establish whether or not your organs are suitable for donation.

Can you give blood if you have cancer ?

you are not able to donate blood if you have cancer 

for further information about blood donation please visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website

Organ donation and eligibility

Anyone can register a decision to become an organ donor after death, there is no age limit.

To donate organs after death, a person needs to die in hospital in specific circumstances.

Specialist healthcare professionals decide in each individual case whether a person’s organs and tissue are suitable for donation.

However there are certain circumstances that may affect an individual’s eligibility for blood donation during their lifetime and for organ donation after death

Can you become an organ donor if you are unable to donate blood?

If you don’t or can’t give blood you can still be a potential organ donor.

There may be specific reasons why it has not been possible to donate blood such as having had a blood transfusion (or blood products) since 1 January 1980. Or there may be reasons why you could not give blood because of your health, for example, having cancer. 

The decision about whether some or all organs or tissue are suitable for transplant is always made by a medical specialist at the time of donation, taking into account your medical history.

Can you become an organ donor if you have had cancer?

Someone with current active cancer cannot become an organ donor. However, it may be possible for people with certain types of cancers to donate after three years of treatment. It may also be possible to donate corneas and some tissue in these circumstances.

For further information please visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website 

If you are currently on either the Blood or Organ donation registry – you can record or amend your decision here – however we would strongly recommend that you also talk with your family, your GP and your specialist team to ensure your details are known and are up-to-date.