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AAD: Transplant Recipients Unaware of Skin Cancer Risk

Targeted patient education needed regarding skin cancer risk and prevention

TUESDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Most organ transplant recipients are not aware of their heightened risk of developing skin cancer, which is due primarily to required immunosuppressive medications. Patient education efforts are needed to raise awareness about skin cancer risk and prevention in order to reduce the high incidence of skin cancer in the transplant population, according to research presented this week at the American Academy of Dermatology's 66th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Summer Y. Youker, M.D., assistant professor dermatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues surveyed 298 solid organ transplant recipients regarding their perceived skin cancer risk, use of skin cancer preventive measures, and attitudes toward sunscreen use and skin cancer screenings.

In all, 62 percent of respondents did not know they were at increased risk of skin cancer, and 73 percent reported that they had not been informed about skin cancer risk after their organ transplant. Twenty-one percent had seen a dermatologist since receiving their transplant and only 14 percent received a yearly skin exam.

"Our findings confirmed that the majority of transplant patients surveyed did not know they were at risk of developing skin cancer, and many of the reasons they gave for not practicing proper sun protection or seeing a dermatologist could be remedied by developing an intensive educational approach that raises awareness of the prevalence of this real health threat," said Youker.

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