The goal of this proposal is to develop and evaluate a sun protection educational intervention
for kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) to prevent skin cancer. Kidney transplantation is the treatment of
choice for patients with end-stage renal disease, however, the requisite life-long immunosuppressive therapy is
associated with developing skin cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCC afflicts 19% of KTRs
between 3-8 years post-transplant,10-45% by 10 years, and 61% by 20 years. Some KTRs develop more than
100 skin cancers in 1 year. Among the approximately living 100,000 KTRs in the United States, many suffer
impaired quality of life from disfigurement of surgical removal, anxiety and fear about the return or spread of
the cancer, and concern about the reaction of others.
Education about the importance of sun protection is necessary for all KTRs, including minorities who
comprise 38% of living KTRs. Focus groups convened by the National Kidney Foundation indicate that
clinicians rarely provide education after transplantation about skin cancer risk and prevention, nor do clinicians
educate patients effectively enough to promote sun protective behaviors. Recipients' perceived importance of
SCC and personal risk of developing SCC moderate an individual's sun protection behavior, e.g. applying
sunscreen, seeking shade, and avoiding deliberate tanning. Darker-skinned individuals may perceive
themselves as either at low or no risk for skin cancer given their limited personal experience with sunburns,
and limited public education efforts focused on minorities.
Our KTR focus group research examined the optimal time and format for sun protection education. KTRs
recommended providing sun protection education before the first summer after transplantation and desired a
booklet that can be reviewed with their health care provider and taken home to read with family.
The proposed pilot study extends our research by developing and evaluating culturally sensitive,
printed sun protection educational materials for KTRs. We will evaluate the effectiveness of educational
materials in changing sun protection behavior with an intervention phase that randomizes equal numbers of
non-Hispanic White, Hispanic and Black KTRs to the intervention and customary care, and evaluates outcome
measures at 3 and 6 months in comparison to baseline measures. By developing educational materials that
effectively increase sun protection behaviors, we will be well poised to develop an interactive web-based
system to disseminate the material to KTRs. Future research will assess optimal approaches to disseminating
a sun protection program to US transplant centers by print or web-based delivery.
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