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Oncology (General Cancer)/Risk of Cancer due to piercing of infected needle/Lancet


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My Sis in Law (Brother's wife) aged 37 has recently been diagnosed to have Ovarian Cancer (Her CA-125 was recorded 25000 in external lab but the hospital lab on repetition found it to be 1000). She is a diabetic and was also having a Cyst in her uterus. The doc operated her around 7-10 days back and removed the Uterus, Ovary and Tubes etc. and samples have been sent for biopsy and other required tests (Image attached), I visited her while she was being discharged from hospital. As she is a diabetic the doc advised to measure the sugar levels regularly by Glucometer. We purchased the same and later in evening I measured her levels. While dismantling the used Lancet/Piercing Needle from the device, the needle made a small cut in my thumb (may be around 1-2 mm long and max. 1 mm deep). This was after say 30 seconds to 1 minute after piercing my sis in law and there was no visibility of her or my blood on the needle. Further, there was no blood on my thumb.  We immediately cleaned my thumb by cotton immersed in Savlon Antiseptic liquid. Then I pressed around the cut in my thumb to check any blood, a very small amount of blood came out. We again cleaned it. I am really afraid of having got infected by this deadly disease. Request your advice on 1) the risk chances I face. 2) The period in which any symptoms would appear if any 3) Do I need to have any tests done after say X period 4) Should I wait for my sis in law biopsy reports and act only after that? (doc has called her for follow up visit for removal of stiches and  deciding further course of action based on her reports) 5) Any other threat/preventive/curing measures required.

Request your DETAILED RESPONSE on above please as I am really very much afraid and stressed.


ANSWER: I will not hold you in suspense! Your risks are 0 (zero)! Even if there were cancer cells from her on that needle and those cells got into your body your risks are still 0! This is your sister in law married to your brother. I suppose that apart from that marriage she is not a close relative of yours. To be a real danger to you the source of those cells would almost need to come from an identical twin of yours! But such a twin would be a man not a woman. There may be a small danger in other very close relatives but the risks are so small and the chances of such a genetic close likeness also so small that again your total risks are virtually 0 even in such cases. The reasons are as follows. Her cancer developed from her own cells. Usually her body's defenses can therefore not distinguish her cancer cells from her other own cells. That is one reason why cancer is hard to treat. But in this case your body will definitely recognize her cells as foreign and not belonging to you. Your own defenses will therefore take care of this. There are a few - very few and mostly in animals - cases where cancer cells can infect other individuals. But no ovarian cancer has ever been reported to be able to do this. The only other exception is if you are using immunosuppressive drugs like those used in organ transplantation cases. If not you are safe! So 1. 0 risk! 2. No period to discuss since nothing will happen. 3. No! 4. You do not need to do anything! 5. No!  Good luck!

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---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

        I got the notification of your response, but was really afraid of opening it. After gathering enough courage when i opened it, the server did not respond!
In second try the server responded and i had your valuable response in front of me, which i must accept has relieved me a lot. You are right sir, she is not a close relative (means in anyway related to me by blood, if i get correctly what you meant) to me and thus as you told, genetic closeness is highly unlikely. I hope and believe that my immune system will take care of the cancer cells, even if they got into my body. I believe i am not taking any immuno suppresive medicines.   

1) I understand from your reply that she definitely is having Ovarian Cancer (this has still not been Confirmed by her doc).
2) I am 39 years old and the only medicines i am taking (since last 9-10 months) are related to few white patches on my skin (for Vitiligo, as the doc calls it) like, PentOD, Vaselyn, Reca 500, multivitamins etc. Hope they and similar drugs do not fall in the 'immunosuppresive drugs' as you termed.
3) Are there any chances that my body may not recognise her cancer cells, if any, as the foreign particles and take care of them.
4) Do you advise me to take any general drug (it would be better if you can name a few) to improve the immune system so that the same can eliminate even the negligible amount of possible risk.

Request your valuable response sir. Thanks once again.

I do not know that she has ovarian cancer but from your description it is most likely and probable. And the few human cancers that can infect another person are in principle excluded in this case.  So you are quite safe!  1. Please see above. 2.  No they are not in that group! 3. No, hardly. 4. No. Good luck! Thanks!

You can also reach me at:
There is no limit to the number of questions there. Please note: NEW SITE!

Donations are also always welcome! No amount is too small, no amount is too big!  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Claes-Gustaf Nordquist, M.D.


Questions concerning Cancer, Oncology, radiation Therapy, Tumours, Chemotherapy, Cytotoxic Drugs, Hormonal Therapy, Radiation Protection.


I'm a Doctor of Medicine and specialist in Medical Oncology and Radiation Therapy educated & trained in Sweden. Now retired. Background in Radiation Therapy, Medical Oncology, Radiation Protection, Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Gynecological Oncology, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Cytology,Hematology and Internal Medicine. M.D. from the faculty of medicine, Royal Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Have also been an exchange student at the Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem Israel. Former medical consultant, Swedish National Board of Radiation Protection. Former Police Surgeon and Medical Examiner, Stockholm Police Department. Former Chief Medical Officer, The Royal Guards, The Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Household Brigade, Royal Swedish Army Medical Corps. You can also reach me on: I have no restrictions in the number of questions there. I also answer questions in these other categories: General History, Military History, Brain Tumors, Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

I'm a medical doctor and specialist in medical oncology and radiation therapy

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