The Gift of Life

A transplant is an amazing gift that deserves to be honored in every way possible. This means making a commitment to protecting your transplant.



Help Prevent Transplant Rejection

As amazing as your immune system is, it unfortunately can’t tell the difference between a harmful germ and a life-saving transplant. For this reason, you must take immunosuppressants to prevent your body from attacking your new organ. Taking them diligently, as intended for you by your doctor, is one of the most important ways you can help ensure the long-term success of your transplant.

Help to Prevent Skin Cancer

In addition to increasing your chance of infection, your immunosuppressants may increase your risk of cancer—particularly, skin cancer. In fact, compared to the general population, transplant recipients are 65-250 times more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer and 2-8 times more likely to develop melanoma skin cancer.1 Fortunately, it’s easy to learn the signs of skin cancer and the steps you can take to lower your risk. Visit the Your Skin page under the Healthy Body section of!

Help Prevent Infection2

Because your immunosuppressants work to suppress your immune response, you may be at increased risk for developing certain infections. For certain infections, vaccines provide a critical line of defense against this possibility of infection. If you are currently living with a transplant, keeping up with your vaccinations will help you fight new and changing viruses. Early vaccination pre-transplant is key to fighting certain infections well into the years post-transplant.

Vaccines come in either live form or inactivated form; some (eg, flu shots) are available both ways. Administration of live vaccines post-transplant is considered risky, and usually not recommended; ideally, you will have completed them at least four weeks prior to your transplant procedure. Depending on the amount of time scheduled before your transplantation, you may wish to work with your doctor to develop an optimal vaccination strategy. If necessary, inactivated vaccines can be administered after your transplant procedure, along with your annual post-transplant vaccinations.

(reprinted from Transplant Experience eNewsletter Inspire, November 2011)