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Melanoma is on the rise nationally, and transplant recipients and lymphoma patients are more likely than the average person to get that form of skin cancer and to die from it, a Mayo Clinic review has found. The findings are published in the October issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Melanoma strikes roughly 1 in 50 people in the general population, said co-author Jerry Brewer, MD, a Mayo dermatologist. 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 said.
"How you catch melanoma earlier is to be very aware of your skin," Brewer said. "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."
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 said.