(HealthDay News) — For organ transplant recipients, participation in a skin cancer research study is associated with increased use of multiple sun protection behaviors, according to a research letter published online in JAMA Dermatology.

Rebecca I. Hartman, MD, MPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study among kidney and liver transplant recipients at high risk of skin cancer. Organ transplant recipients’ use of sunscreen, hats, and/or long sleeves when outdoors was surveyed at enrollment in the Skin Tumours and Allograft Recipients study, annually, and at study exit. Data were included for 225 study participants with a mean follow-up of 36 months.

The researchers found that patients who used multiple sun protection measures at baseline were significantly more likely to have fair complexions, to have been born in Australia, and to have undergone annual skin cancer screening during the last 5 years. The odds of using multiple sun protection measures increased significantly between study enrollment and exit after adjustment for these variables (odds ratio, 4.4). Compared with the increase in odds of applying sunscreen (odds ratio, 1.7), there was more of an increase in the odds of wearing long sleeves and hats (odds ratios, 3.3 and 3.6, respectively).

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“These results suggest that research clinics that conduct skin cancer surveillance among organ transplant recipients offer additional educational and primary prevention advantages beyond improved access to care,” the authors write.

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Hartman RI, Green AC, Gordon LG, et al. Sun Protection Among Organ Transplant Recipients After Participation in a Skin Cancer Research Study. JAMA Dermatol. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.1164 [Published online June 6, 2018.]