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What Is the Key to Improving Renal Transplant Recipients' Awareness of Skin Cancer Risk?

By Alessandro Borghi, Monica Corazza, Yuri Battaglia, Elisa Maietti, Sara Minghetti and Annarosa Virgili


Background: Previous studies have shown poor compliance rates regarding sun protection among organ transplant recipients. Objective: The main objective of the present study was to assess the awareness among renal transplant recipients (RTRs) of their risk of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) development and their sunscreen use. The influence of several potentially relevant variables was also assessed in order to identify possible weak points on which to concentrate efforts in this respect. Methods: A total of 132 RTRs (92 males and 40 females) were included. The following information was collected and elaborated: (a) demographics; (b) skin phototype; (c) educational level; (d) time elapsed since transplantation; (e) immunosuppressive treatments; (f) previous dermatological visits; (g) patients' awareness of their NMSC risk; (h) use of sunscreen; and (i) previous documented NMSCs or NMSCs found during the study visit. Results: Overall, 65 patients (49.2%) expressed awareness of their susceptibility to skin cancers. A high educational level was the main factor associated with patients' awareness. Thirty-six RTRs (27.3%) reported using sunscreen regularly. High educational level and awareness of personal susceptibility to NMSC development were the most relevant factors associated with sun protection habits. Conclusion: The present study showed the low level of sunscreen use among RTRs and their scanty awareness of personal skin cancer risk. Since educational level has been found to be highly related to both awareness of cancer risk and adequate use of sunscreen among RTRs, it is necessary to improve the way education is delivered by dermatologists and nephrologists, especially to subjects with a low educational level

Topics: Awareness, Education, Non-melanoma skin cancer, Renal transplant recipients, Sunscreen
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1159/000458756
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