Melanoma up to 2.5 times likelier to strike transplant, lymphoma patients

October 3, 2012

Melanoma is on the rise nationally, and transplant recipients and lymphoma patients are far likelier than the average person to get that form of skin cancer and to die from it, a Mayo Clinic review has found. That is because their immune systems tend to be significantly depressed, making early detection of melanoma even more important, says co-author Jerry Brewer, M.D., a Mayo dermatologist. The findings are published in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Melanoma strikes roughly 1 in 50 people in the general population, Dr. Brewer says. The odds of getting melanoma are up to 2.5 times higher in people who have received a transplant or who have lymphoma, and melanoma also is likelier to be fatal in those patients, he adds. Patients who have the form of lymphoma called and develop melanoma are 2.8 times more likely to die from metastatic melanoma, in which the cancer has spread from the skin to other parts of the body, such as .

The take-home message, Dr. Brewer says: If melanoma is found earlier in such patients, they will likely have better chances of survival. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body. The first signs are often a change in a mole's appearance or the development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth.

"How you catch melanoma earlier is to be very aware of your skin," Dr. Brewer says. "These patients with immunosuppression should be looking themselves over head-to-toe once a month, they should be seeing a dermatologist once or twice a year, and if they have a lot of other risk factors, maybe more often than that."

Dr. Brewer also advises using sunscreen, trying to avoid the sun and steering clear of . The melanoma risk is so high in immunosuppressed patients that they should use sunscreen not only every day, but "almost as often as you brush your teeth," he says.

Explore further: Study finds dramatic rise in skin cancer in young adults

Related Stories

Study finds dramatic rise in skin cancer in young adults

April 2, 2012
Even as the rates of some cancers are falling, Mayo Clinic is seeing an alarming trend: the dramatic rise of skin cancer, especially among people under 40. According to a study by Mayo Clinic researchers published in the ...

What you need to know about sunburns and tanning

May 10, 2012
(AP) -- Roughly half of young adults under 30 say they've had a sunburn in the past year. Not a big deal?

Melanoma risk declines with self-exams plus doctor visit

August 24, 2012
(HealthDay)—Risk of deeper melanomas is reduced with self-examination of the skin one to 11 times a year, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Melanoma screening by physicians associated with finding more cancers than patient self-detection

July 18, 2011
Physician-based screening for melanoma is associated with higher rates of physician-detected melanoma and detection of thinner melanoma, according to a report published Online First today by Archives of Dermatology, one of ...

People with Parkinson's disease may have double the risk for melanoma

June 6, 2011
An analysis of several studies shows that people with Parkinson's disease have a significantly higher risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the leading cause of death from skin diseases. The research ...

Recommended for you

Could a green sponge hold cancer-fighting secrets?

July 27, 2017
A small green sponge discovered in dark, icy waters of the Pacific off Alaska could be the first effective weapon against pancreatic cancer, researchers said on Wednesday.

Stem cell therapy attacks cancer by targeting unique tissue stiffness

July 26, 2017
A stem cell-based method created by University of California, Irvine scientists can selectively target and kill cancerous tissue while preventing some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy by treating the disease in a ...

Understanding cell segregation mechanisms that help prevent cancer spread

July 26, 2017
Scientists have uncovered how cells are kept in the right place as the body develops, which may shed light on what causes invasive cancer cells to migrate.

Study uncovers potential 'silver bullet' for preventing and treating colon cancer

July 26, 2017
In preclinical experiments, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have uncovered a new way in which colon cancer develops, as well as a potential "silver bullet" for preventing and treating it. The findings may extend to ...

Compound shows promise in treating melanoma

July 26, 2017
While past attempts to treat melanoma failed to meet expectations, an international team of researchers are hopeful that a compound they tested on both mice and on human cells in a petri dish takes a positive step toward ...

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.