WP, renal transplant 1984

I had a renal transplant in July 1984 and it is now a way of life. When I had my first diagnosis of skin cancer, I wasn’t worried as I felt I was being well looked after. I don’t worry about future problems and keep a positive daily outlook. I don’t feel it has changed my daily routine.


My transplant and anti-rejection drugs have not affected my skin at all. I am not worried about future skin problems as I now take extra care of my skin.


I have just started getting warts and my skin is very dry. I have not had any skin cancers yet, but I do worry about future skin problems

JN, renal transplant 1983

I have had a renal transplant for many years now and have had so many skin cancers cut out. But, the scarring does not bother me and I don’t find the anti-rejection drugs themselves a problem.

Forty years of azathioprine and sunlight

I have suffered with Crohns Disease for nearly 40 years now. Back then the only treatments available were steroids so when my consultant told me he was trying me on a new drug that would allow me to reduce my Prednisolone I was very excited. I started on Azathioprine and indeed remained on it for many, many years and apart from 4 operations along the way I was fine. Unfortunately, it is only now that the side effects from this are beginning to show themselves. When I was younger I used to be a sun worshiper and enjoyed many Mediterranean holidays. I wish that someone had told me that if you combine this with taking Azathioprine it would ruin my skin and lead to all sorts of problems including skin cancer!

So the moral of the tale is if you are prescribed Azathioprine – stay out of the sun or protect your skin with Factor 50!

All well with skin six years after transplant

I was diagnosed with CRF in my late thirties and about 15 years later was put on the transplant list. It was at my first meeting with the transplant co-ordination team that some possible side effects of anti-rejection drugs were explained to me including the higher risk of developing skin cancers.

I was given skin cancer information leaflets after my transplant so I know what to look for and I keep a good eye on any moles or changes in my skin (fortunately none!).  About 6 months after the transplant I saw a dermatologist who confirmed that I had very little skin damage even though I have always played sport and had sun exposure ever since I was a child so did not want to change my lifestyle completely – particularly as I was in the incredibly lucky position of receiving a living donor kidney transplant just over 6 years ago from one of my lovely brothers who proved to be a suitable donor and really good match.

I use sun cream regularly especially since I have been playing golf for well over 20 years now I make sure I use SPF 30+ sun cream before and during a round of golf, in really sunny weather I even shelter under an umbrella! One of my fellow golfers had a transplant over 30 years ago and still plays 2-3 times a week.

I know I am in an amazing position in that I did not quite get to need dialysis although I did not realise how ill I had been feeling or how yellow I had become until after the transplant!  I was originally taking cyclosporine, mmf and steroids but as I had such a good match I am fortunate to be on very low dosage of tacrolimus and take a statin and apart from the odd course of antibiotics that is all I have to take now.

The benefits of having the transplant far outweigh any problems caused by side effects of the immunosuppressant drugs. I am closely monitored every 3 months with check-ups with my renal consultant having blood tests for kidney function and tacrolimus levels. I have had a few problems since the transplant mostly caused by contracting food poisoning a few years ago!