Transplant patients have an increased risk of developing malignant tumors and cancers. Because transplant patients need to take immunosuppressant medications, malignant cells may escape detection and destruction by the immune system and develop into a tumor.
Tumors that are common in the general population, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer, do not seem to occur more frequently in transplant patients.Skin cancers are the most common tumor in transplant patients. Sun exposure is the major risk factor for skin cancer.
Lymphomas occur with increased frequency in transplant patients.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Enlarged lymph nodes or swelling beneath the skin
- Fever, excessive fatigue, weight loss, poor appetite and sweating
- Nodules, which can be detected on routine chest x-rays
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, please contact your doctor for prompt evaluation. Lymphomas are diagnosed by biopsy of a lymph node or nodule. Other tests may be performed to determine if other organs are involved.
Check your neck, armpits, and groin area for lumps or new growths. Report signs of these to your doctor.
Treatment consists of a change in the immunosuppressant medication dosage and/or schedule, and sometimes chemotherapy or radiation therapy.