Study: African-American Organ Transplant Recipients at Risk for Skin Cancer

DREXEL | Lauren Ingeno
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A new study from Drexel University College of Medicine suggests all organ transplant recipients, regardless of race, should receive routine, total-body screenings for skin cancer. 

Out of 259 nonwhite transplant recipients who were evaluated in the study, 19 skin cancer lesions were identified in 6 percent of the patients. The research was published Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology.

Further, the study shows risk factors for nonwhite transplant recipients likely differ between races/ethnicities — which represents an important shift in how dermatologists approach minority patients. Doctors should keep these unique characteristics in mind when examining and counseling nonwhite patients about prevention strategies, said Christina Lee Chung, MD, associate professor of dermatology in the College of Medicine and director of the Drexel Dermatology Center for Transplant Patients.

“Once physicians began to realize there was a significant number of transplant patients dying from skin cancer, there was a push to prevent it. But much of the field has focused on trying to decrease the morbidity of the Caucasian transplant population, which is more susceptible to skin cancer overall,” said Chung, the study’s principal investigator. “This is the first research of its kind to look at a diverse population of nonwhite transplant recipients and how skin cancer affects them.” Continue reading
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