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Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer Guide
Transplant Patient Guide
Caring for Transplant Patients
Organ Transplant Immunosuppressed High Risk Skin Cancer Clinic
Tumor Board
Mohs Surgery
Contact and Referrals
Research and Clinical Trials
Dermatology Faculty


Risk Factors

Risk factors are a clue to each individuals risk for developing skin cancer. In general, the more risk factors, the more likely a skin cancer may develop.

General risk factors:

  • History of significant sun exposure
  • Fair skin, skin that burns easily, rarely tans
  • History of multiple blistering sunburns
  • History of radiation exposure
  • Also see risk factors for the general population

Risk factors specific for Transplant patients:

  • Prior history of actinic keratosis (pre-cancers)
  • Prior history of skin cancer
  • Older age at transplant
  • Duration and intensity of immunosuppression
  • Type of organ; heart recipients > kidney recipients > liver recipients
Common Sites where Skin Cancer Occurs
Common sites where skin cancer occurs

Overexposure to sunlight is a major risk factor. The more sunlight your skin has been exposed to during your lifetime, the higher your risk for developing skin cancer. Because UV radiation in linked to skin cancer, transplant patients tend to get skin cancer on be sun exposed areas (face, ears, scalp, neck, backs of hands and backs of forearms). See Figure 1 for common sites where skin cancer occurs.

Some sites where skin cancer occurs that may be associated with an increased chance or recurrence or metastasis includes the ear, lip, perioral region, periorbital region, nose and genitalia.

The majority of sun damage occurs before the age of 30, however, good sun protection at any age may be beneficial at preventing future skin cancers.

For more information about how to protect your skin from the sun click here.

Updated: May 4, 2007
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.
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