A new study reveals that heart transplant patients are at increased risk of serious skin cancers, including cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
When people receive heart transplants, they need immune medications to keep their body from rejecting the transplant. The changes to the immune system they experience as a result of the medications can also make them more susceptible to developing cancers.
Murad Alam, MD, MSCI, of Northwestern University and his colleagues studied 10 years of patient information regarding 6,271 heart transplants at 32 US transplant centers.
Results showed that the heart transplant patients were more likely to get skin cancers than other patients who had not had such transplants. The incidence increased post-transplant from 4- to 30-fold.
The study is published in the American Journal of Transplantation.