Skin cancer is the most common cancers seen after transplant. Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. Transplant patients have a 20-60 times higher risk of skin cancer than other people.

Risk Factors Include:

  • Lifelong exposure to the sun

  • Fair skin

  • History of burns

  • Heredity

The medicines you take after transplant to prevent rejection lower your immune system. It is important to know this is a risk factor for skin cancer. The risk of getting skin cancer increases overtime when taking these medicines. Your doctor will work to make sure you are on the right dose of these medicines to help reduce your risk.

The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) in sunscreen is rated by what is in the sunscreen and the amount applied to skin. If you don’t apply enough, a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 may not work as well as it should. To make sure you get full SPF, you need to apply 1 ounce (About a shot glass full) to your entire body.

Ways You Can Prevent Skin Cancer:

  • Limit the amount of time spent in the sun.

  • Make sun shielding or sunscreen part of your daily routine.

  • Apply a thick coat of sunscreen to all exposed skin 30 minutes before going out in the sun.

  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every 2 hours that you are in the sun.

  • Re-apply after swimming or sweating. Even if the sunscreen is water-resistant, some will wash off.

  • Wear protective clothing that covers the skin, wide brim hats, and UV (ultraviolet) blocking sunglasses.

  • Avoid mid-day sun when the sun’s rays are most intense (10:00 AM-4:00 PM).

  • Remember that sunburns can occur on cloudy days or from water or snow glare.

  • Find shade under a tree, umbrella, or other ways when you can.

  • Use lip balm or cream that has SPF to protects your lips from getting sunburned.

  • Never go to UV tanning booths.

  • Remember that certain medicines can make your skin more likely to sunburn.

  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. Skin cancer usually starts as a growth that changes in color, shape or size.

  • See your doctor and dermatologist yearly for a full skin exam.

  • See your doctor if you notice a suspicious lesion. This includes a non-healing sore, red scaly patch, shiny bump, wart-like growth or irregular shaped mole.

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