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RTIPs Meet Up with Dr June Robinson: Sun Protection Strategies for Kidney Transplant Recipients

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Sun Protection Strategies for Kidney Transplant Recipients is an educational intervention that aims to increase sun protection behaviors among kidney transplant recipients (KTRs), who take immunosuppressive drugs that place them at increased risk of skin cancer. Based on the theory of reasoned action and planned behavior, the intervention comprises two components―an 11-page workbook and a set of three reminders sent electronically―to encourage sun safety behaviors to prevent skin cancer.

Patients receive the workbook when they go to an appointment with their nephrologist or transplant surgeon, and they are encouraged to read the workbook during the visit and at home. The workbook explains KTRs’ increased probability of developing skin cancer, highlights the importance of sun protection to avoid skin cancer, describes and visually depicts types of skin cancer, and promotes the adoption of various sun protection behaviors. The workbook is designed to be culturally appropriate for non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic/Latino patients to reinforce the notion that all KTRs need to adopt sun safety behaviors, regardless of their ethnicity or skin tone, because of their increased risk.

The workbook conveys messages that reflect values and beliefs about getting darker skin and skin cancer from sun exposure, includes photographs of skin cancers occurring in multiple skin types, and uses culturally appropriate language. For example, the workbook uses the phrase “skin irritation” in addition to “sun burn.” Further, in explaining how people receive more sun exposure than they realize, the workbook uses culturally relevant outdoor activities as examples. Over a 5-week period starting 2 weeks after getting the workbook, patients receive three messages by telephone text or email. These messages remind patients to use sun protection and are sent on a weekday, a weekend, and the Friday before a holiday weekend.

I would be interested in hearing your ideas about how to increase sun protection behaviors among high-risk groups!