Protect your skin this summer
By Cassidy Shaver, MSW, LSW, Transplant Social Worker
Transplant patients are given medications, called immunosuppression medications, which protect the transplanted kidney from rejecting from a patient’s body. Immunosuppression medications are what make organ transplants possible by maintaining the body’s ability to house a foreign organ without the body fighting it, but they also prevent the body from controlling cancer causing viruses. In fact, research shows 25 percent of patients who live for 20 years post-transplant develop some type of cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer found in organ transplant recipients because transplant medications make the skin more vulnerable to sun damage. Transplant patients are three times more likely than others to develop skin cancer. The most common types of skin cancer, in order of prevalence, include squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and merkel cell carcinoma. The top three risk factors for these types of skin cancer include ultraviolet radiation, medication immunosuppression, and human papillomavirus (also known as HPV). The most important and only avoidable risk factor for post-transplant patients is ultraviolet radiation or sun exposure.
Post-transplant patients must be weary of sun exposure, and are encouraged to take a few steps to prevent skin cancers from forming.
Lankenau Kidney Transplant’s best tips for limiting your risk of developing skin cancer
- Wear SPF 30+ daily
- Wear sun protective clothing as able
- Limit sun exposure
- Get a yearly skin check
- Perform monthly self-exams to look for changes in suspicious skin spots
The importance of early detection and treatment of skin cancers as early as possible cannot be stressed enough! Protect your skin this summer!
Staff spotlight: Joan Diorio
Joan’s cooking corner
Blueberry blast smoothie
This healthy, easy blueberry smoothie recipe takes no time at all. Blend on and slurp up.
A quarterly recipe shared with you from your Transplant Dietitian, Joan Diorio, RD.
Cooking it up for Gift of Life Family House guests
Oops we did it again! Members of the Kidney Transplant Program at Lankenau visited the Gift of Life Family House on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 to participate in a program known as “Home Cook Heroes.” Members of Lankenau’s transplant team planned, donated and cooked a night of food and fun for family house guests.
The menu for the evening included chicken and steak kabobs with vegetables, rice, pasta salad and fruit kabobs. The Family House was completely booked on this evening, and Lankenau Transplant fed approximately 45 transplant patients and their families.
Patient spotlight: James Williams
New kidney, new start in life for Lankenau patient
He’d been on the waiting list for a new kidney for six years and was getting ready to head home on the bus—just like any other visit—but then he received a call.
Gift of Life Donor Dash 2017
Why do I need… a BMI less than 35?