If you’ve recently had transplant surgery, you may be at increased risk for developing skin cancer. The risk for organ transplant patients is up to 100 times higher than the risk for the general population and increases every year after the transplant surgery. The risks for all three common types of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) are significantly increased, with SCC risk the most dramatically amplified. There are several reasons why your risk increases. However, there are things you can do to help prevent skin cancer from developing. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about skin cancer in transplant patients.
Why Skin Cancer Risk Increases
There are many reasons why the risk for skin cancer increases after transplant surgery. The biggest one involves the anti-rejection medications patients take to suppress their immune system. While these medications help prevent the body from rejecting the new organ, they reduce the ability of the immune system to detect and defend against cancer causing mutations in the skin. Other risk factors for increased skin cancer risk include age, skin type and amount of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Skin Cancer Prevention Steps
There are several steps organ transplant patients can take to minimize their skin cancer risk. Practice sun protection habits such as using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing outdoors. Visit a dermatologist for routine checkups and examine your skin regularly for any changes. Your dermatologist can educate you on what to look for so you can protect your health. You may also want to speak with your dermatologist about certain oral medications and supplements that can help lower your risk for skin cancer.
Professional Skin Cancer Screenings
Skin cancer is highly treatable if caught early. If you’re concerned about your risk, contact Olansky Dermatology Associates today to schedule a skin cancer screening. Our board-certified dermatologists can diagnose early symptoms for children and adults and recommend the best treatment for you. If you’re at high risk, there are a variety of treatment options available. Take care of your health and get screened today!