The Kidney Transplant Tradeoff
Research developments that have implications for nephrology and urology certainly are not limited to the meetings and journals targeting these specialties. That is why our news coverage extends to meetings that nephrologists and urologists usually do not attend and journals they usually do not read.
Such is the case with the cover article of this issue, which reports on a study presented at the
The study got me thinking about the tradeoff that transplant recipients have to make. Renal transplant recipients look forward to a life without dialysis and accept that they must take immunosuppressive medications to prevent rejection. As a result, these patients face an increased risk of infection and cancer.
In a previous study, researchers at the
It would be a great travesty if, after years of waiting for a renal transplant, a patient's prospect for a better life is dashed by the development of cancer, especially if it was a potentially preventable malignancy like skin cancer. The new study found that only 28% of transplant recipients reported wearing sunscreen regularly, a slight increase from 22% who reported wearing sunscreen regularly before transplantation.
Numerous health professionals are involved with the care of a transplant patient, but in the case of renal transplant patients, it is incumbent on nephrologists to take the lead in ensuring that kidney recipients are aware of their elevated skin cancer risk and of the need to wear sunscreen.