Transplant and Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common of all 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 life long exposure to the sun, fair skin,
history of burns, and heredity. A low immune system may also play a role in getting skin cancer
and can often occur five years or later after transplant.
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:
ξ Reduce the amount of time in the sun as much as you can.
ξ Make sun shielding or sunscreen part of your daily routine.
ξ Apply a very thick coat of sunscreen to all exposed skin 30 minutes before going out in
ξ Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every 2 hours that you remain in the sun.
ξ Re-apply after swimming or sweating. Even if the sunscreen is water-resistant, some will
ξ Wear protective clothing that covers the skin, wide brim hats, and UV (ultraviolet)
ξ Avoid mid-day sun when the sun’s rays are most intense (10:00 AM-4:00 PM).
ξ Remember that sunburns can occur on cloudy days or from water or snow glare.
ξ Find shade under a tree, umbrella or other ways when you can.
ξ Use lip balm or cream that has SPF to protects your lips from getting sunburned.
ξ Avoid UV tanning booths
ξ Remember that certain medicines can make your skin more likely to sunburn.
ξ Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. Skin cancer usually appears as a growth that
changes in color, shape or size.
ξ See your doctor and dermatologist yearly for a full skin exam.
ξ See your doctor if you notice a suspicious lesion including a non-healing sore, red scaly
patch, shiny bump, wart-like growth or a irregular shaped mole.
Choose a Broad-Spectrum sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection with SPF 30 or
(Most products can be found at your local retail store or drugstore.
The following brands have received the seal of recommendation from the Skin Cancer
Alba Botanica-Hain Celestial Group
Eau Thermale Avene
MD Solar Sciences
Obagi Medical Products
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter
Pure Sun Defense
Target Up & Up
Yes To, Inc
ZO Medical (Oclipse)
Sun Protective Clothing:
Coolibar – www.coolibar.com
Solumbra – www.sunprecautions.com
Columbia Omni-Shade Sportswear – www.columbia.com
Under Armour – www.underarmour.com
For More Information:
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©1/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7359.