operation Eli Hershkovitz
Photo by Eli Hershkovitz
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An Israeli woman whose organs were donated after her death has been found to have been suffering from undiagnosed early stage pancreatic cancer, after her organs were transplanted into four other people via a hospital in Be'er Sheva.

The four recipients, who received the woman's lungs, kidneys and liver, have been placed under close medical supervision.

The 40-year-old woman died from heart problems at Soroka Medical Center two weeks ago, and her family decided to donate her organs. The woman's pancreas was also assigned for transplant, but when it was removed, it appeared inflamed and sent to the lab for tests.

The tests revealed an early stage cancerous tumor, which raises the likelihood that the malignancy of the tumor may have been transferred to the recipients.

The Health Ministry issued a statement explaining that, "the patients have been notified by doctors and care-givers. The phenomenon of the transfer of diseases from donors to recipients is a well known one around the world. The patients will be closely monitored to be on the safe side."

The tumor was discovered "during an early stage," the statement continued. "There was no clinical manifestation of it that could have led to early diagnosis. Such an initial stage tumor doesn't register on the routine lab tests used to diagnose cancer. The likelihood of metastases in the recipients is minimal."