Why can they do organ transplantation for cancer?

Usually can't. Cancer usually rules out txp. But, for some people with early cancer of the liver, there is no other chance for a cure - because the cancer can't be surgically "resected" without removing the entire liver. For them (or for a rare group of pts with very slow growing tumors that have spread to the liver - like steve jobs), if there isn't evidence of spread beyond the liver, a txp may be appropriate.
Variable. There are instances where a liver cancer or a kidney cancer requires removal of the organ, and then the patient can receive a replacement organ transplant. It would depend upon the type of cancer, the extent of the cancer, and the condition of the patient.
No short answer. Transplantation of the liver for liver cancer is recommended only for early stages of the disease, when the cancer is most likely to be confined to the organ being removed and replaced by a new liver.

Related Questions

Are cancer patients where the cancer is localized to a specific organ eligible to receive an organ transplant? Just curious.

Depends. This is always at the discretion of the transplant surgeon, but largely depends on the type of cancer. Very localized skin cancers are not likely to cause an issue whereas others entail such a dire prognosis, transplant may not be an option. Also, transplant is also a treatment for some cancers in selected patients--the liver is the best example here. Read more...

Can I get cancer from taking azathioprine for my organ transplant?

Yes. Azathioprine is an effective immunosuppressant and is a valuable part of some protocols to prevent rejection. By suppressing the immune system, the risk of cancer goes up. The risk of most cancers doubles for patients after transplantation. The risk of skin cancer, however, goes up about 50 times. This is why we recommend wearing a hat and using sunblock when outdoors. Read more...
Yes. Unfortunately one of the side effects of immunosuppression is the potential to develop certain types of cancers at a higher rate than people do don't take these medicines. Skin cancers and blood/bone marrow cancers are more common while taking immunosuppression. Read more...
Benefits vs risks. Agree with drs. Layman and browne. Unfortunately, the cost of immune suppression is increased risk for infections and some cancers, especially skin, lymphoma, others. Balance that with the risk to life and health of not getting the transplant, if needed, e.g.Kidneys-lifelong dialysis (with associated risks); liver- liver failure (not pretty), early death, ;heart-congestive failure and early death. Read more...
Yes. Transplant recipients should be screened for cancers, especially after 10 years of immunosuppression. The most commonly diagnosed cancers are skin (basal and squamous cell) cancers, cervical cancers in women, and lymphomas. These tumors are often associated with higher doses of immunosuppression and certain viral infections. Read more...

Is it safe for organ transplant patients to be around lung cancer chemotherapy patients who are also periodically receiving radiation?

Yes, with caution. Both patient's described are immune compromised. Extra care needs to be taken around the immune compromised patient. Washing has periodically, wearing a mask, if there is anybody sneezing, or in a big public place is a good start. Consult, your physician to have periodic blood draw to check if patients are immune compromised. Read more...
Yes. You cannot be harmed from a cancer patient receiving treatment with chemo or radiation. A transplant patient should not have any problems, unless the patient on chemotherapy has an active infection. Read more...