Z THET1,2,6, A LAM1, S NG1, K RAZAK2, D RANGANATHAN1,4, S AUNG3,6, T HAN2,6, J BORG2, C PEPITO2, S NEWSHAM2, T KHOO1,5
1School of Medicine, Griffith University, Brsibane/Goldcoast, Australia, 2Department of Nephrology, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Rockhampton, Australia, 3Department of Oncology, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Rockhampton, Australia, 4Department of Nephrology, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia, 5School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, 6Rural Clinical School, University of Queensland, Rockhampton, Australia
Aim: To report skin cancer awareness and photoprotective behaviours in adult (≥18 years) renal transplant recipients (RTRs).
Background: In the regional setting of Australia, no previous studies evaluated skin cancer awareness and photoprotective behaviours of RTRs treated with long term immunosuppressants which enhance the risk of skin cancer.
Methods: In this cross-sectional survey, 61 RTRs were administered a questionnaire to evaluate skin cancer awareness and photoprotective behaviours.
Results: 57 RTRs (93%) responded to the survey. The median age of RTRs at the time of kidney transplant surgery was 49 years. 62% of RTRs were male. Most participants are Caucasians (93%). 16% of RTRs did not know that ultraviolet radiation can play a role in the occurrence of skin cancer and 2% were not aware that immunosuppressants can increase the risk of developing cancers. Most of them used hat (79%), sunglasses (67%) and sunscreen (74%) when they spent time outdoors. 22% of RTRs ‘never’ used sun protection cream when they were outdoors. During outdoor activities, 36% of participants use sunscreen sometimes and 31% ‘often/always’ used sunscreen. Among sunscreen users, 5% used it in all seasons, 52% in both summer and autumn, 29% only in summer. During outdoor activities, 54 % wore shirts with long sleeves, 44% stayed in the shade, 21% wore light coloured clothes and 28% avoided outdoor between 10am and 4pm. The least popular sun protective measure was using an umbrella (7%). The percentage of RTRs using 6-8 (high-level of sun protection), 3-5 (moderate) and 0-2 (none/minimal) protective measures were 21%, 45% and 34%, respectively.
Conclusion: Educational sessions at regular interval are recommended to improve skin cancer awareness and photoprotective behaviours among RTRs.
He is a senior nephrologist working in the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service. He is also an associate professor of University of Queensland and Griffith University.