DEAR MAYO CLINIC: About a year ago, I had a heart transplant and have been doing well ever since. During a recent follow-up visit, my transplant doctor recommended a skin check by a dermatologist. What is the connection?
Answer: Regardless of your past medical history, it is always a good idea to have a basic skin check evaluated by a dermatologist. However, certain people are more susceptible to sun damage and are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. For example, recipients of solid organ transplants are 100 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma than people who have never had a transplant.
A dermatologist’s skin check, which often takes minutes, is an important part of early detection of skin cancer. The most common type of skin cancer is called basal cell carcinoma, Squamous epithelial carcinomaThey are usually formed on the sun-exposed parts of the body. It is thought to be caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds and damage the DNA of the skin. These cancers tend to look like pink, red, or scaly skin spots that do not go away on their own. It may bleed and grow in size.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It occurs in cells called melanocytes that produce melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin. The exact cause of all melanoma is not clear, but exposure to UV light increases the risk of developing melanoma. Genetic factors and skin types can affect the development of melanoma.
Regular self-assessment increases the chances of early detection of melanoma and other types of skin cancer, but observes subtle changes that trained professionals may not notice. Is always helpful. This is especially important for people who have had a solid organ transplant and are at high risk of developing skin. cancerThis increased risk is primarily related to the effect of anti-rejection drugs on the ability of the immune system to prevent the development of the immune system. Skin cancer..
Recipients of solid organ transplants are advised to have their skin checked by a dermatologist at least annually. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking your skin once a month and try to protect your skin as much as possible.
When checking for skin problems, be aware of ABCDE for melanoma.
“A” is asymmetry. Look for irregularly shaped moles or markings, or where half look different from the others.
“B” is a border. Look for moles with uneven, jagged, or scalloped borders.
“C” is the color. Look for moles with many colors and moles with uneven color distribution. The change in color inside the mole should be checked.
“D” is the diameter. If you have a mole larger than about a quarter inch in diameter, have it checked.
“E” means evolution. If the mole changes in size, shape, or color, or if you have bleeding, itching, or tenderness, it is important to evaluate it immediately.
In addition to self-skin checking, it is important to protect yourself from the sun to avoid long-term problems. This is especially important for transplant recipients.
Here are some tips to help you with your sunscreen:
Apply sunscreen daily to areas exposed to sunlight. If you are outdoors for long periods of time, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours. A wide range of sunscreens with a sunscreen factor (SPF) of 30 is recommended.
When adventuring outdoors, wear sun protection clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
Avoid sunlight and look for shade from 10 am to 2 pm when the sun is strongest.
Avoid sunburn and sunburn on the skin from the tanning bed. Sunless tanning products can be safely used by anyone who wants to enhance their sunless tanning. skin color.
Keep in mind that taking a few extra minutes can help you stay healthy.
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Relationship between skin care and transplantation
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