Factors affecting sunscreen use and sun avoidance in a U.S. national sample of organ transplant recipients


  • Funding sources
    This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/NCRR/OD UCSF/CTSI grant no. KL2 RR024130 to S.T.A. and J.Y.T., a Harvard Medical School research fellowship to E.L.M., and by grant K24 AR052667 to M.M.C. from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH.

  • Conflicts of interest
    None declared.

Sarah Arron.
E-mail: arrons@derm.ucsf.edu


Background  Organ transplant recipients have an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancers due to immunosuppressive therapy following transplantation. Use of sunscreen has been shown to reduce this risk.

Objectives  To identify patient and healthcare factors associated with sun-protective behaviours in organ transplant recipients after transplantation with the goal of increasing overall sunscreen use.

Methods  This study utilized a cross-sectional, retrospective survey from a national sample of 198 organ transplant recipients in the U.S.A. from 2004 to 2008 with no prior diagnosis of skin cancer. The main outcome measures were sunscreen use and sun avoidance before and after transplantation. Frequency of sunscreen use and sun exposure was obtained by self-report on Likert scales ranging from never to always, and these responses were converted to a numerical scale from 0 to 4.

Results  Overall sunscreen use increased after transplantation (from a score of 1·4 to 2·1, < 0·001). Sex, Fitzpatrick skin type, receiving advice to avoid sun from a healthcare provider, and pretransplantation sunscreen use were significantly associated with frequency of post-transplantation sunscreen use in multivariate models. Pretransplantation sun exposure, advice to avoid sun and pretransplantation sunscreen use were significantly associated with sun avoidance post-transplantation.

Conclusions  Both patient features and clinician advice are associated with sun-protective behaviours after organ transplantation. These results will help physicians target expanded sun-protection counselling to those patients most in need of such intervention.