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

A suppressed immune system is also an important risk factor for skin cancer. The impact increases with the amount of time exposed to anti-rejection medicines. 

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 ensure that 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 remain 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 appears 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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