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Immunosuppressants and Skin Cancer: What you need to know

Immunosuppressants and Skin Cancer: What you need to know

People who are immunosuppressed have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. 

Immunosuppressive medications are given to recipients of organ transplants and also other chronic medical conditions including psoriasis, lupus and eczema.

Immunosuppressive drugs work by reducing the effectiveness of your immune system. Without these drugs a transplant recipient may encounter difficulties with their immune system attacking or rejecting their donor organ 

Psoriasis sufferers use immunosuppressants because their immune system reacts to a non-existent danger. New skin cells move to the surface every few days rather than every few weeks. This results in thickened plaques on the surface of the skin. 

One of the downsides of taking immunosuppressive drugs is the ability to counter the effects of UV light on the skin.

Transplant.org.au states that solid organ transplant recipients are 65 times more likely to develop skin cancer. They estimate that up to 70% of fair skinned transplant recipients will develop skin cancer within 20 years of their transplant.

For individuals who take immunosuppressant drugs and have a high skin cancer risk profile, the cumulative effects of surgical skin cancer removal can materially reduce their quality of life.

If you are taking immunosuppressants it is advisable to check your skin regularly (once a month) for high risk skin lesions. Early detection is critical as skin cancers spread more quickly for individuals who are taking immunosuppressants which can increase the severity of remedial treatments. 

To enjoy the outdoors safely in the sun it is beneficial to wear UPF 50+ sun protective clothing and a broad brim sun hat. Applying and reapplying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on areas of your skin which may still be exposed is also important.

Solbari Sun Protection is an Australian brand specialising in UPF50+ sun protective clothing, UV umbrellas, UPF arm sleeves and other UV blocking accessories. Solbari has also launched a smartphone App in partnership with SkinVision to help with the early detection of skin cancer and melanoma.

You can find out more about Solbari's certified UPF50+ sun protective range by clicking the blue links below:

Women UPF 50+
Men UPF 50+
Sun Hats UPF 50+
Accessories UPF50+
SPF 50+ Sunscreen
Skin Check App

The Solbari Team
This blog is for information purposes only, always consult with a medical professional for expert advice.



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