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HealthInfo Canterbury

Skin cancer checks for immune-suppressed people

Skin Cancer ChecksAs well as preventing infections, your body's immune system helps prevent skin cancers. When your immune system has been suppressed by medications, more skin cancers can grow. They can also grow faster and are more likely to spread around your body than in non-immune-suppressed people.

Local research has shown that organ transplant recipients are likely to get a skin cancer within eight years of their transplant. From then on, they're likely to get a new skin cancer or two each year. Anyone receiving an organ transplant should have a skin check by a dermatologist, then regular skin checks by either their GP or a specialist.

You can reduce the chances of developing skin cancer in the future by limiting harmful sun exposure. You can reduce the chances of skin cancer causing problems by detecting it early and having it removed before it spreads.

Managing skin checks

Treating skin lesions

If you develop a skin lesion, it should be removed within four weeks. Phone Minor Surgery at Burwood Hospital on (03) 387‑1327 if you haven't received an appointment within three weeks.

If you get serious skin cancers, your immune-suppressant drugs may be reviewed.

Written by Plastic Surgery Department, Christchurch Hospital. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed April 2018.


Page reference: 87517

Review key: HIIMS-392691