Kidney Transplant Patients and Skin Cancer Risks

Jul 1, 2020

The National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) reports that people with organ transplants are at a higher risk of skin cancer because of the immunosuppressive medications they must take to protect their transplanted organs.

While it’s impossible to prevent skin cancer entirely, the good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.

Protect Your Skin From Harmful UV Rays

Keep your skin protected from the sun’s UV rays by:

  • Applying sunscreen daily with at least an SPF of at least 30 or higher (even on cloudy days). Reapply after swimming or sweating for continued protection.
  • Stay out of the sun during peak hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Wear protective clothing and accessories such as light-colored long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses.

Examine Your Skin Regularly

Give yourself a spot check by using the “ABCDE” method:

  • Asymmetry - one side of a mole or birthmark doesn’t match the other.
  • Border - irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred edges.
  • Color - varied colors may include shades of brown or black and sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • Diameter - spot is larger than ¼ inch across (about the size of a pencil eraser), but can be smaller.
  • Evolving - a mole changing in size, shape, or color.

See a Dermatologist

Early detection of skin cancer is critical. Visit a dermatologist for a skin exam to look for spots you may have missed during a self-exam. Make regular visits at least once a year.

Protecting yourself from the sun combined with self-exams and regular visits to your dermatologist can help prevent or detect early skin cancer.

Categories: Kidneys