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Skin cancer surveillance in renal transplant recipients: re-evaluation of U.K. practice and comparison with Australian experience


  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Seema Garg.


Background  Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most common tumour following solid organ transplantation. In 2000 a survey of U.K. centres managing renal transplant recipients (RTRs) showed that only 21% offered skin cancer surveillance.

Objectives  The survey was repeated in 2006 in the U.K. and Australia. The aims were to determine if U.K. practice had changed since 2000, to define skin cancer surveillance practice in Australian RTRs and to compare this with that in the U.K.

Methods  Questionnaires were sent to 84 U.K. and 45 Australian centres providing long-term RTR follow-up.

Results  Fifty-six (67%) U.K. centres caring for 82% (= 16 349) of the RTR population replied. Sixty-six per cent provided annual skin cancer surveillance and 39% offered full skin examination (FSE) compared with 21% and 20% in 2000. Eighty-one per cent of surveillance was performed by nondermatologists (= 30), nine (30%) of whom had received formal training for the role. Thirty-one (69%) Australian centres covering 86% (= 5392) of the RTR population responded. Ninety-seven per cent provided skin cancer surveillance, and 61% offered FSE. Forty per cent (= 12) of skin cancer surveillance was conducted by nondermatologists. Two nondermatologists had received formal training.

Conclusions  Despite a substantial improvement in the provision of skin cancer surveillance for RTRs in the U.K. between 2000 and 2006, only 39% of units offer FSE. In contrast, virtually all Australian centres offer annual skin cancer surveillance, with more dermatology involvement. Lack of training for nondermatologists involved in skin cancer surveillance is evident in both countries. The availability of dermatologists and the variation in NMSC risk between the populations may explain the different practices observed.