Sun-protective strategies focusing on skin cancer awareness are needed in immunosuppressed patients at risk of skin cancers. The study aims to determine the effect of an integrated skin cancer education program on skin cancer awareness and sun-protective behaviours in renal transplant recipients (RTRs) and patients with glomerular disease (GD) treated with long-term immunosuppressants. A pilot prospective cohort study in Central Queensland, Australia was undertaken among adult RTRs and patients with GD, who completed survey questionaries on skin cancer and sun-health knowledge (SCSK), sun-protection practices and skin examination pre- and post-education. Fifty patients (25 RTRs, 25 patients with GD) participated in the study. All of them completed questionnaires at pre-, 3-month post-education and 92%(n = 46) at 6-month post-education. There was a significant increase in SCSK scores from baseline at 3-months (p < 0.001) and 6-months post-intervention (p < 0.01). Improved knowledge was retained for 6 months after education. There were changes in 2 of 8 photoprotective behaviours at 6 months. Interventional education enhanced regular self-skin examination rate (p < 0.001) as well as the frequency of full skin checks by general practitioners (GPs) (p < 0.001). Overall, RTRs had better compliance with sun-protective methods and higher skin examination rates by themselves and/ or GPs before and after the intervention of education compared to patients with GD. To conclude, an integrated skin cancer education program improved knowledge of skin cancer and skin health as well as the frequency of self-skin examination and formal skin assessments. However, improvement in patient compliance did not extend to other sun-protective practices.
Keywords: Education; Glomerular disease; Renal transplant; Skin cancer.
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